The Graves County Fiscal Court approved American Rescue Plan Act funds for multiple local infrastructure products related to water and sewer services during the court’s meeting Monday afternoon.
Graves County was awarded about $7 million in ARPA funds, as well as roughly $1.3 million in ARPA funds through the Kentucky Infrastructure Agency specifically earmarked for drinking water and wastewater projects. Funds for the individual projects had to be allocated by last Friday, but they did not have to have full approval from the court by that date.
The fiscal court recently approved Tracie Mahan to serve as administrator for the funds. During Monday’s meeting, Mahan outlined projects proposed in the county’s four water districts.
Judge Executive Jesse Perry said Mahan has vetted the projects that have been requested to make sure they qualify for the funding. The judge executive said Mahan has been working with Purchase Area Development District Water Resource Coordinator James Smith and KIA Grants Administrator Roger Recktenwald to make sure the projects all meet the qualifications required before they were presented to the fiscal court.
Commissioners voted in favor of six projects.
Projects approved during the meeting included:
$134,000 to replace piping along Kentucky 131 South in Symsonia. Along that section of state road are about 24 residential customers, a church, a high-capacity day care, and a wastewater plant. Mahan said the pipe has been failing a lot over the past 20 months, and that project was the Symsonia Water District’s top priority.
$455,000 for a wastewater lagoon rehabilitation project in Wingo.
$624,000 for a clear well project for Mayfield Water and Electric. Mahan said the clear well was last updated in 1992, and the pumps and tanks are beyond their service life. Commissioner Todd Hayden noted that the project affects water consumers in the Hardeman and Hickory water districts in the county, as well as the supply chain to Fancy Farm.
$100,000 for rehabilitation of the Fancy Farm Wastewater Plant. The plant is being fined under the Environmental Protection Agency for noncompliance, and this funding will provide a short-term solution that would allow the Graves County board to find funding alternatives.
$250,000 for tank rehabilitation in the South Graves Water District. Mahan said the tank had a leak that needed to be repaired, and the tank needs to be repainted. The paint is delaminating, which is causing the metal underneath to deteriorate.
$250,000 for a similar tank rehabilitation project in the Sedalia Water District.
One project was not voted on Monday. That project involves water and sewer services for the Randview subdivision in Graves County. A portion of the ARPA funding been set aside for the project, Mahan told the fiscal court. But, some of the details need to be worked out. Perry said Graves County Water and Mayfield Water and Electric will give a presentation on the project during the next fiscal court meeting.
Perry said more research needs to be done on that project before it can be approved. Talking with the Mayfield Messenger after the meeting, Perry explained that the subdivision gets water through Mayfield Water and Electric, but its sewer services are provided through a private organization. So, the fiscal court has to determine the best, most efficient way to provide the subdivision with an adequate sewer system.
During the meeting, Goodman said the ARPA funding will not fully fund each project, and matching funds will be provided to a degree.
Perry said the federal funds made available to the county for much-needed projects are a blessing for the community. Roughly 15,000 connections or services will be affected by the projects in some form or fashion.
“They are really spending a lot of money on infrastructure, and that has been under both presidents,” Perry said, referring to federal aid passed during the Trump and Biden administrations. “So I guess my thing is that we are very blessed in Graves County — when you talk about Fancy Farm or Sedalia or Wingo or Mayfield, Symsonia — all these folks to be able to get projects that’s been on these books for many years and now they’re remedied.”
Also during Monday’s meeting, the court approved two resolutions regarding Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response funds. In January, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that local governments across Kentucky would be allowed to request up to $200,000 in utility assistance for their communities, partnering with community action agencies to administer the funds.
Commissioners on Monday approved a resolution for a residential anti-displacement and relocation plan and a resolution to adopt procurement standards related to that grant funding. According to the Kentucky Department for Local Government, the CDBG-CV funds must comply with federal regulations on procurement standards and displacement prevention, along with other requirements. The funding is allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Commissioners also approved an agreement with West Kentucky Allied Services, the community action agency the county is partnering with to administer the funds.
The fiscal court also voted to accept bids for a project to replace a pipe along Wray Road. Perry said the county will hopefully be able to utilize some Kentucky Transportation Cabinet funds for the project, and it is not clear if the county road department will have time to replace the pipe in the near future. The judge executive said Graves County Road Foreman Eric Thompson estimated it could cost $75,000 to $100,000 to replace the large pipe, which is 25 to 30 years old, if not older.
Financial business approved by the fiscal court on Monday included financial claims presented by Graves County Treasurer Codie Courtney for Nov. 6-19 and the Graves County Jail’s October 2021 canteen and housing reports.
The next Graves County Fiscal Court meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on Dec. 13. The meeting will be held in person at the Graves County Circuit Courtroom. The second fiscal court meeting of December has been canceled due to the holiday season. It has not yet been decided whether the fiscal court members will meet in person or virtually when they meet again in January.