BEVERLY - Officials in the village are still working to find funding for a possible water line replacement project but have lost out on one big monetary source.
According to David Combs, chairman of the village's board of public affairs, it appears the village will miss out on more than $1 million in community development block grant (CDBG) funds.
"We just got information back that out of 400-some different taxing authorities, we're about 220 on the list and they're funding the first 127 right now," Combs said. "Obviously we never thought we'd get the whole thing - that'd be like hitting the lottery - but we were hoping we'd get a portion of it."
Combs said the CDBG list is compiled on a points-based system, depending upon, among other things, need and economic status of a particular entity.
He said in total, the village applied for $1,803,500 in CDBG funds, which would have covered the first phase of a water line replacement project in the village.
"We can't continue to ignore our infrastructure," he said. "A lot of (the water line system) was built back in the 30s, so it's 75 years old now and we've had a lot of lines break in the last few years."
Combs added water pressure is also an issue in many areas in the village.
Members of the board of public affairs made a presentation during a May village council meeting, during which they provided the specifics on the potential project.
According to information provided during that meeting, there are about 55,000 feet of water lines in the village. It would cost between $75 and $100 to replace each foot of line, meaning a total replacement would cost about $5 million.
Combs said officials are applying for a variety of grants and loans to cover the project, which would not start for at least a year.
"Once we get back everything and figure out if we (were awarded funds) or low interest loans, that in conjunction with the rate study will give us an idea of what we can do and what we can't afford to do," he said. "Once we have that information, we'll go back to the public again."
About a month ago, the village contracted with the Rural Community Assistance Program for the purpose of conducting a water/sewer service rate study.
Nathan Davis, rural development specialist with the agency, said that won't wrap up until September.
The study does not require any action from residents but village officials had to submit a long list of information, such as copies of water use records for at least the last three years. The contract amount is not to exceed $7,800.
"We try to sit down and forecast over the next five years, taking into account inflation and taking into account repairs and replacement needs they've already identified," Davis said. "We try to project what their rates need to be over the next five years where they can pay loans and get by but also set money aside for emergencies and where they can do annual repairs and replacements on their system."
Depending upon how the project is funded, anywhere from $6.12 to $14.36 could be added to the bills of each customer per month.
"Communities get into a situation where they try to do what they think is the right thing in going years in a row without raising their rates and over time their money is worth less and less because expenses are going up and in the meantime their water lines and sewer lines and water plant are getting older and older," Davis said. "Beverly is just another one of those communities."