Joe P. Asher
Water issues are not new to the city of Cumberland as officials have struggled with maintaining the system for several years. However, city officials are hoping to repair the water system because state officials placed the municipality under an agreed order to make repairs some time ago.
And, now, to get things moving, city officials currently are working with consultants in hopes of securing the more than $1.6 million necessary for the project.
Cumberland City Council member Carla Barrett reported the city is seeking $1,640,000 in funding to be used for repairs on the water system.
“The mayor and David Bowles completed the first step in obtaining state or federal financing by developing a profile describing the project according to a format provided by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) and having it approved by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District (CVADD). The CVADD approved it with no opposition,” said Barrett.
Bowles is president of Monarch Engineering, the firm assisting the city on the water issue
In a telephone conversation with Mayor Carl Hatfield, he said the money is intended to upgrade the city’s water system. “It’s for the water department — upgrading our water plant and distribution system,” said Hatfield.
According to Hatfield, the city’s financial position will have an effect on whether money is approved.
“We have to maintain credibility,” said Hatfield. “We have to have made some effort to obtain enough revenue to operate with. We should be looking at our water rate increases and things of that nature and what’s going to be required there… We have to make an effort to collect all back debts and unpaid water bills.”
Hatfield said Bowles handled much of the specifics on requested funding. Bowles said the funds, if approved, will come from two different sources.
“It’s a combination grant and loan,” said Bowles. “We’re applying for a $400,000 grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the difference is coming through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), not KIA — It’s two separate funding entities — $400,000 through the ARC and then from USDA we’re asking for a $510,000 grant and $754,000 in a low interest loan.”
Bowles said the city will not have to provide matching funds for the grants.
“In a technical sense, ARC requires a 20 percent match, but the USDA does not,” said Bowles. “The USDA is more than the 20 percent match obviously, so basically no, no match.”
Although the process has started, it will take some time before the city will know if the request is approved.
“We’re in the process of putting together the formal application. It will probably take about two or three months to run through the hoops” said Bowles. “We’ll be making that application after we complete all the necessary requirements. We probably won’t hear anything until spring of next year at the earliest.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org