Several residents showed up for a public hearing Tuesday night at the courthouse expressing their desire for water services.
The county is making plans to apply for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which if approved would assist the DeKalb Utility District in extending water lines into certain areas of the county not already served.
The DUD would be responsible for paying the grant's local 20% matching requirement.
County Mayor Mike Foster said surveys have been made to determine which areas could benefit from this project. The public hearing was also held as part of the grant application process. "We have to conduct this public hearing to get input from the public to know where the wants and needs are. That's why we're here tonight to determine that," he said.
According to Foster, many of the residents in the targeted areas have to live with poor quality water or little or no water. "I think it's a really important thing that we try to get water into some of these areas. Some of them (residents) have sulfur water and salt water. Some have no water. They are using cisterns . Some haul water and put it in a tank. Some just have seasonal water. When the spring gets dry in the summer they don't have water. Others have no water pressure much. It's in an area that really does need help. I've heard of them digging wells several hundred feet deep and not getting water. It's primarily on Oakley Hollow, Tramel Branch, Alexandria to Dismal, the Lower Helton area that goes over to Temperance Hall, Green Pasture, which is by Dry Branch, and a little bit up Dry Creek and Givens Hollow. We have done surveys on all but about three of the roads and we know how many houses are on each road," said Foster.
A similar grant was approved two years ago to extend water lines to a portion of this area but that project did not include everyone who needs water. "We did one grant that went (extended lines) from Liberty to Dismal. One went about half way up Dismal. Another one went up Dismal to Tramel Branch and turned right. It's just in sections that we've been trying to piece all this together. Now we want to come back down Dismal toward Oakley Road in that area," said Foster
Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning & Consulting will be the grant administrator. Those who have received a survey concerning this project are asked to please fill it out and send it into the county mayor's office as soon as possible. The grant application is due by the end of February.
"We will send in the application in February. We'll probably be notified in October (if the grant is approved). If we get the money, we'll get started on this project," said Foster.
There are no guarantees that the grant will be approved. "There will probably be 125 applications. Last year they (state) funded 65 so we have about a 50/50 shot of being approved," Foster concluded.