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Commission working with Gallia Water

Commissioners, the CAO, Gallia Water officials and Lecta area residents are continuing work on a water expansion project along County Road 37.

Friday, December 07, 2001

Commissioners, the CAO, Gallia Water officials and Lecta area residents are continuing work on a water expansion project along County Road 37.

Representatives of each group met Thursday, just after the commissioners meeting, to discuss the project’s status and what needs to be done next.

For those who qualify based on income, project leaders are trying to use state block grant funds to purchase $2,800 taps, said Ralph Kline of the CAO.

Also, the number who qualify needs to be known so that accurate project data can be given to Gallia Water, which will do the project in a joint agreement with Lawrence County because it has nearby lines.

"It’s complex so we need to see what to do to go forward," Kline said.

Commission president Paul Herrell said he was concerned with the preliminary estimates on who qualifies for grant assistance.

"It doesn’t seem right," Herrell said, adding that he knows many residents in that area and many more than listed need help buying the expensive taps.

There are about 19 taps in the project. Adding six more around the lake could drop tap fees to about $2,100 each.

In order to qualify for tap assistance, residents must show proof of income, such as an IRS tax form, and there is a limit on income, Kline said.

All information is kept confidential, and is used to show state regulators the need for using grant funds.

Officials at Thursday’s meeting theorized that some people could have filled out forms wrongly or not responded to letters. Also, people sometimes don’t want to appear like they need financial assistance, they said.

What needs to happen is either face-to-face meetings to help people with the forms, or help them understand it’s important to show they need help so the project can move forward, Herrell said.

One area resident, Jeff Saunders, agreed with commissioners that it appears more people should qualify, and volunteered to help with the project if possible.

Ideas offered Thursday by the groups involved included:

– Holding a community meeting where residents could get answers as a group and meet with CAO officials individually.

– Home visits to residents who might have questions.

– Rechecking qualifications of those who responded to letters about tap assistance.

– For those who must pay for taps, they can check into a group loan at a bank so the entire cost does not have to be paid up front.

The CAO will look over qualifications, and individual meetings could be scheduled soon.

"I need to do some talking," Saunders said, adding he will visit with residents. "We need the water bad."

Saunders, who said he will pay for a tap, has dug three dry wells.

Area water is poor quality and waterlines are sorely needed, he said.