ELBERTA - The Town of Elberta is requesting monies that, if awarded, could potentially go towards drainage improvements within town.
“We heard through the grapevine that the state got $500 million from the federal government, and the state is trying to give that out,” said Mayor Jim Hamby. “It’s not a formal program or a grant.”
Hamby has spoken with Senator Greg Albritton (R-Escambia) about using the money to potentially fund drainage projects. Albritton spent time in December speaking with municipalities in his district about projects that could benefit from these funds.
“We have one project identified in downtown that is roughly estimated as a million-dollar project,” Hamby said. “I also told [Albritton] we had a project on the southside of town that we’re doing at the pavilion, and I told him that was a million-dollar project. I said we were going to make a decision on which way we want to go, which one we would want to apply for, and he said we need to ask for both.”
Hamby said while the program doesn’t require a set match amount, if the council considered a 10% match they would have a higher chance to get the projects funded.
“If we pay $200,000 there’s the possibility that we’ll get $2 million for drainage projects in Elberta,” Hamby said. He said there are more drainage projects that need to be performed in Elberta, including the Miflin community. The FY21/22 budget includes the construction of three 30-inch culverts on South Rolling Green Road, which Hamby said will help improve drainage in the south part of town.
Council member Vicky Norris raised concerns on where the town would produce the $200,000 match for the projects. Council member Steve Kirkpatrick, who is a member of the town’s Finance Committee, said the town only budgets 90% of its income in the general fund. Town Clerk Caryn Woerner said multiple projects were about to close as well.
“For example, the saferoom project is going to be closed out soon, and once we finish with everything in there, there could possibly be some excess funds that may go back into the general fund,” she said. “The downtown TAP grant is almost ready to close too, and there’s over $100,000 in that bank account, so we have some things coming.”
Woerner said the town has approximately $140,000 coming to the general fund from the state for money owed to the town. She said the town made up the state portion when it paid off a $1 million line of credit.
Hamby added there was a possibility the town could use $200,000 received from the CARES Act as the match for the drainage projects.
“A lot of the time you can’t combine monies together, but because this program that we’re trying to get this $2 million from is not like a formal grant program, there’s probably not the same barriers involved with that,” he said. “Since one of the things you can do with the CARES Act is drainage, there’s a possibility that we could just move that money and use it.” The town is investigating the possibility.
Alan Killen with Civil Southeast is using the town’s drainage study, completed two years ago, to create a project report for submittal.