A future plan to expand the new East Bend waterline to a portion of the Forbush community has hit a snag as the county may not be able to secure grant funds to help fund the project.
The wells serving Forbush High School and Middle School are experiencing issues, hence the need for a new water source. In order to apply for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) infrastructure grant, the county was asked to complete surveys of all the households along the proposed waterline route as well as families and faculty members of Forbush middle and high schools.
A 75-percent survey return was required with 51 percent of those surveyed being at low- to moderate-income levels. Even after being given an extension to complete the surveys, County Manager Lisa Hughes reported on Tuesday during the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners meeting that they were unable to meet the goal.
“We had an opportunity to receive a million-dollar grant to offset this project that would cost an estimated $4.1 million. It was an application that the state had not had much response to, but because we could not get enough involvement from residents along that route and parents whose children go to those two schools, we’re not able to submit that application,” Hughes said.
She said they were about 250 surveys short at the schools and 30 surveys shy of goal for the household surveys, despite a door-to-door canvass by county employees.
“I think it’s going to come to a point that the board is going to have a make a decision — either yes, we’re going to go ahead and do this line regardless of the cost and seek other funding opportunities, or are we just going to have to pay for more wells to be dug at the schools,” Hughes told the commissioners.
Commissioner Kevin Austin, chairman of the county board, noted that surveys are increasingly difficult to complete as people are more concerned with privacy and how their information is to be used. He asked Hughes if this concern could be shared with the state in hopes of finding an alternate way to be eligible to apply for the grant.
Hughes also reported that the East Bend waterline was nearly complete and testing already had begun. The system is expected to go live the first week of February. Hughes said a ribbon cutting would be scheduled to celebrate the project’s completion. She also noted that residents in East Bend should be aware that they could see changes in water color in the next few weeks as final testing is done on the new line.
Tuesday’s meeting of the commissioners began with a report from Northwest Regional Library Director Joan Sherif as well as the librarians from East Bend, Jonesville, Boonville and Yadkinville. They thanked the board for its continued support of the library system and shared information about the variety of resources available at local branches, including genealogy resources, computers, assistance with taxes and more.
Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal also addressed the board on Tuesday, requesting approval to apply for a NC Emergency Management Performance Grant. The grant is an annual one that the county has received for the last several years.
“This is federal money coming from FEMA to the state to be distributed among counties to help us better be prepared for [winter weather] or other natural or manmade disasters,” Vestal said.
The board approved the request for the grant application.
The commissioners and the Yadkin County Board of Education will have a joint meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 in the Commissioners’ Chambers of the Yadkin County Human Services Building.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.