The county’s application for a Community Development Block Grant to extend water lines to parts of the county that are not served by the DeKalb Utility District (DUD) has been denied for a second time.
The county commission voted to apply for a $525,000 Community Development Block Grant for this on behalf of the DeKalb Utility District last fall which would have helped pay for extending water lines to Tramel Branch, Oakley Road, Carter Lane, Old Givens Hollow, and Dismal to Alexandria Road.
The DUD would have paid for a 16 percent, or $96,000, match had the grant been awarded, but like an application filed for the same project in 2014, the needed score to qualify for the funds was not high enough.
"Our score last year was 191, and the cut off for funding was 194," County Mayor Tim Stribling told the county commission Monday night. "I got with Jon Foutch, the manager of the DeKalb Utility District and Amanda Mainord, the grant writer, and we called Brooxie Carlton, who is the director of the CDBG, and asked her about ways to improve our score. She recommended that instead of testing 10 percent of the wells that 35 percent of the wells be tested. They did that, and it raised our score from 191 last year to 206 this year, but the cutoff for funding was 217. Anderson County had a score of 217 and was the last applicant to receive approval for funding. We were the next applicant down the list with a score of 206."
Water line extension grants totaling $3,456,001 were approved for Monroe County, Greene County, Hancock County, Jefferson County, Maynardville, Macon County, and Anderson County. DeKalb County, Bedford County, McMinn County, Coffee County, Hickman County, Unicoi County, and the Pittman Center were denied the funds.
Stribling said the application would be resubmitted next year. "It will be sometime in November before we can start to try and find out how to better our score for next year," Stribling said. "These are federal dollars coming down and those dollars are getting less and less. But the pot for people applying for grants is getting bigger and bigger. It's real competitive. There's not anything to do but try again next year."