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SF officials seek help with grant application

SF officials seek help with grant application

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008 10:11 pm
By: Chris Menees Messenger Staff Reporter

 By CHRIS MENEES Messenger Staff Reporter The City of South Fulton needs residents’ help in pro-ceeding with application for a Community Development Block Grant that could provide some sewer system relief. A public hearing held Thurs-day evening prior to the South Fulton City Commission’s monthly meeting was scheduled “to get the ball rolling” on a Community Development Block Grant, according to South Fulton Mayor David Crocker. Commission members and city officials were basically the only people in attendance for the required public hearing. During the hearing, Lynn Manning of Community Devel-opment Partners explained that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds are administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. She said South Fulton has not received funds in a number of years. Ms. Manning said the objective of the Community Development Block Grants is to serve low- to moderate-income individuals in a community. Applications for grant funding are due by Feb. 25 — which is where the community’s help and cooperation are needed at this time. Ms. Manning said South Fulton residents may receive a survey that is vital to the application process whether the city seeks grant funding for water or sewer needs. She said a certain percentage of residents who receive service must be surveyed and she urged residents who are contacted to respond to the survey, adding that the main concern is income in order to show a need in the community. Ms. Manning emphasized that the demographic information must be provided or South Fulton cannot apply for grant funding. She said the survey information is a HUD requirement and the information gathered is kept within her office. Crocker said the primary concern right now is informing the community about the survey process and seeking residents’ cooperation. He said South Fulton city manager Jeff Vowell has been working diligently on the grant application process and he hopes the city can move forward. During the regular commission meeting that followed the hearing, Vowell said he has been mapping a course of action and believes about 285 surveys from the community will need to be completed, or roughly one in four households at random. He said mailing the surveys seems to be an expensive option and he noted there are also time constraints with needing the surveys completed soon. He said the survey work can be done over the telephone, although he still believes city officials will have to make some door-to-door personal contact with residents. About 30 surveys have already been completed by residents when they came into City Hall to pay bills. Vowell said the questions on the required survey may seem invasive and deal with areas such as race and income, but he said making application for grant funding is “for the betterment of the community as a whole.” He said the city must make application in order to make needed repairs to its infrastructure. Crocker said he is willing to do whatever is necessary in order to get the surveys completed on time, including personally making door-to-door contact, and said he believes residents will be more willing to respond if city officials explain the situation in person. Vowell said that is his intention, too, and he feels it will be good to get out in the community and meet people. “We’re going to get it done, that’s all there is to it,” Vowell said, adding that he wants commissioners’ input on getting the surveys completed. Ms. Manning said her office needs the demographic information from the surveys by the last part of January in order to proceed with the application process. In other action during Thursday’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by commissioner Tony Perry and with the Pledge of Allegiance, the commission: • Approved the making of repairs to the effluent and intermediate pumps at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Vowell said the plant has two effluent and two intermediate pumps, with one of each currently down, leaving no backup. He said the anticipated life span on the pumps is three to five years and noted that the effluent pump currently down had been in service since 2003 and the non-functioning intermediate pump since 2001. Vowell said the pumps will basically be rebuilt. • Was reminded by Vowell that residents’ Twin City Ambulance Service rates have increased $10 per month effective this month. • Learned the Tennessee Department of Transportation has granted approval to the bridge on Forrestdale Avenue and it has been reopened. • Was informed by Vowell that auditors will be on site in January to begin their work on the city’s audit. Vice mayor Keith Curlin and commissioner Charles Moody were absent from Thursday evening’s meeting. Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 12.19.08

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