Lindale Rural Water Supply will apply for a grant to build a groundwater storage tank that will serve roughly 450 people.
On Tuesday, the Smith County Commissioners Court approved two contracts that will allow the water utility company to move forward with applying for federal funds to help with construction. The grant funds are through the federal Community Development Block Grant program, which is administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Those are for grant administration services with Big Sandy-based Amazing Grants and with Hayes Engineering to design the facility.
Mary Kay Thomas, project manager with Amazing Grants, said the grants are given out every two years, but this year the Department of Agriculture changed up its application process.
In years past, the utility would apply for the grant, and if approved then a grant administrator, engineering firm and contractor would be brought on for the project.
The county would have to apply for the grant on behalf of the water supply, but would only be a pass through. Smith County would not be responsible for the grant administration or for funding of the project, Ms. Thomas said.
“The water supplies must go to counties to access these funds,” she said. “Smith County is very good about applying for water supplies throughout the county to receive these funds.”
This year, the state wants the grant firm and the engineering firm lined up before the utility can submit an application.
The proposed project includes building a groundwater storage tank on property already owned by the utility, Ms. Thomas said. The grant is estimated to be $275,000, with a local match of roughly $13,750 to be paid by the water utility.
The application is due Feb. 9, and Amazing Grants expects to know if the water supply will be selected for the funding in April. Those funds could be allocated for 2017 or 2018.
Ms. Thomas estimates it would take about a year before construction would start, if the grant application were approved. The engineering firm would have to first design the facility then get approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The facility would then be bid out for construction.