Smackover Council allows water extension grant applications

Smackover City Council met on Monday, May 9 and discussed topics including grant applications for a water extension project on Mt. Holly Road.

“I’ve had a few people asking me in the last few months about water out to Mt. Holly Road, in that area out there. I talked to [Bill] Gaunt and he still has plans that were drawn up before. He says there will be some grant money available in the near future,” Neal said.

Gaunt, president of Gaunt Engineers, spoke before the council next.

“This will be the third try for that community out there. With the infrastructure money - there is supposed to be quite a bit coming down this fall… It normally takes about an 80 to 90% grant to fund something like this to keep the rates down where it’s reasonable. If you don’t ask you won’t get it and it won’t cost you anything for me to ask. I’d like to have the opportunity to see if it gets through this time,” Gaunt said.

Gaunt went on to say it is “about 40 people” looking for water access in that community on Mt. Holly Road.

“That area would build up…if they had water,” Neal said.

“I think there’s a reasonable chance of maybe getting [the grant funding] done this time,” Gaunt said.

A motion to apply for grants for the purpose of expanding water access passed unanimously.

Speaking on Wednesday, Gaunt said there have been three attempts over twenty years to secure grant funding for this extension project.

Gaunt said that although he expects the latest round of federal infrastructure funding will not be readily available for distribution through state agencies until fall of this year, he will begin the grant application process immediately.

“It normally takes around 90 to 180 days to get through the application process,” Gaunt said.

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021. A White House statement detailing the bill’s benefits for Arkansas says that the state can “expect to receive $528 million over five years to improve water infrastructure.”

The potential project itself would involve laying “about 25,000 feet of pipe” extending water access from the city to a section “about three or four miles” on Mt. Holly Road, Gaunt said.

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