Moulton Council members learned in a regular meeting Monday that the city was approved for up to $500,000 in grant funds plus $500,000 from the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) to improve the sustainability of Moulton’s infrastructure and water system.

The news comes after the council was approached by Water Superintendent Jay Johnson last December when he urged the city to have a system study done and apply for the DWSRF. In January the council voted to give Kelley Group, LLC, of Tuscumbia, the authority to act on behalf of Moulton in the application process.

The resolution allowed the city to apply for up to $1 million with DWSRF to be used for water system improvements, an amount Johnson told council members they could “back off of, but not add to.”

“This doesn’t commit the city to borrow anything,” Johnson clarified in January.

Kelley Taft with the Kelley Group told council members the city’s system study should be complete in the next few weeks. She said DWSRF projects may be finalized after the study is finished and after the city receives community input and assesses Moulton’s budget.

She said the city was approved for the first $500,000 in “free money,” but the city would also be allowed to apply for supplemental funds up to an additional $500,000 with a fixed interest rate of 2%.

Johnson said the funds would cover water system improvements for Moulton, including fire flow solutions and new water lines for those that need to be upgraded.

DWSRF was established by 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and is a financial assistance program designed to help water systems and states to achieve the health protection objectives of the SDWA, according to EPA.gov.

According to the site, Congress appropriates funding for the revolving loan program, and states may award a 20 percent match to water systems based on the results of the most recent Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment.

Though it could take several years to complete water infrastructure projects, Johnson said he is hopeful that in conducting a study plan, the city is on track for addressing long-term stability for its infrastructure and securing grant funds for the future.

Johnson also provided an update concerning the city’s upgrade to a new water meter system, which allows the water department to perform “drive-by” meter readings.

He said the city still had about 30 meters left to install for active customers as of Monday, but he said there were also about 380 or 390 meters for inactive accounts that needed to be addressed. Of those 380 or so, Johnson said 96 meters would not require full replacement, but they would need new encoders.

The council approved $48,046 paid to Equal Utilities from Water Department bond money for the additional cost due to idle meters.

Johnson also received approval for an alum tank and concrete pad at the water department for a total cost of $15,000. Johnson said the cost of the new tank and pad cost the city four times less than the estimated cost of repairing the city’s old tank.

In other business, council members also approved a $23,089 payment to Ingram Equipment Company, LLC, for garbage truck repairs. The city also approved an invoice of $17,696 to Rogers Group for rock and gravel at the new ball fields at Moulton Recreation Center.

Recreational Director Deangelo McDaniel said now that the parking lot is complete the ball fields should be ready to open as soon as lighting is finished.

Council members approved a lease purchase proposal with Musco Finance for lighting materials at the ball fields. The agreement should cost the city about $238,000 for lighting for 12 months, which also includes the cost of the materials and installation construction.

The city will accept sealed bids from a licensed Alabama Electrical Contractor on Thursday to install LED technology onto light poles, which will each be furnished by Musco Finance. Bids will be opened on Aug. 6.

All council members were present for the Monday meeting. Moulton City Council will meet next on Monday, Aug. 3, at City Hall at 5 p.m.

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