Lepanto to look for grants to pay for water line replacement
After a public hearing Tuesday night, the Lepanto City Council voted to reapply for grant money to help pay for replacing 13,000 feet of galvanized water lines.
City Engineer Jerome Alford said the estimate for replacing the line is one million dollars. The city applied for a grant last year but was rejected. Mayor Steve Jernigan said he and Alford went to Little Rock a month ago and were told grant money for this type of project was nearly dried up, but the city could get a loan. Jernigan said there was a lot of money available for expanding water systems but not much for replacing them.
Alford said the soil in a lot of places in the Delta is corrosive and attacks the galvanized pipes from the outside. The brown coloration of the water is iron oxide, which gets stirred up any time there is a large usage of water, such as when a fire is being put out.
Jernigan also noted there was not much point in repaving streets until the water lines get replaced. "What good does it do to pave the street if you have to dig it up to fix the water lines?" Jernigan said. According to Jernigan, the city spent 115 days last year patching water lines.
The galvanized lines account for over half of the total water line system. Two blocks of sewer line are also in the estimate to be replaced, but none of the other sewer lines will be affected.
Rather than institute an average water rate increase of $6.50 or propose a sales tax increase, the council voted unanimously to continue to pursue grants to fund the project.
The council also heard from Jennifer Fithen, sponsor for Men of EPC. Fithen said the Men of EPC and the Ladies of EPC, groups of high school students who want to serve the community, are doing a project to clean up Main Street on May 1-2. Forty students are signed up to paint buildings and clean awnings during those days, but Fithen said they need adults to help supervise. The students have been raising money throughout April to pay for the project. Anyone with questions can contact EPC High School at 870-475-2331 and speak with Fithen, Christy McGlothin, or Principal Gary Williams.
In other business, the council:
*heard updates on properties needing cleanup.
*heard from Larry Brewer regarding enforcing Ordinance 298 and issuing citations for properties that are not being cleaned up. The council passed a motion to enforce the ordinance and have police issue citations.