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Scott County water project stalled due to lack of funding

Holly Viers • Aug 7, 2018 at 7:30 AM

GATE CITY — Residents of the Fairview area of Scott County may have to wait longer than expected for public water service.

Mike Dishman, executive director of the Scott County Public Service Authority, announced during Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the water line extension project in that area has been stalled due to a lack of funding.

Dishman said the PSA was required to find $500,000 in grant funding to move the project forward. The PSA applied for $200,000 in grant funds from the Virginia Department of Health, but the application was denied.

“Very surprisingly last week, I finally got notice from VDH that they had rejected our application,” Dishman said. “It’s inexplicable. We are trying to take some steps to try to get that, but for now the project is stalled due to insufficient funding.”

Background

The PSA received nearly $7 million for the project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program at the beginning of last year.

Part of Fairview Road already has public water access, but the water line doesn’t extend all the way through the Fairview community. As previously reported by the Times News, the project would include approximately 18 miles of water distribution lines, 95 water meters, 33 fire hydrants and any other needed equipment.

What’s happening now?

To find the needed $500,000 in grant money, the PSA is requesting funds from the Coalfields Water Development Fund (CWDF), LENOWISCO and the VDH. So far, the PSA has received $90,000 from the CWDF.

“We will be applying next month … for some additional money from Coalfields and for some money from LENOWISCO,” Dishman said. “We have talked with their staff. It’s stalled, but we’re hopeful that it will get back on track.”

Dishman said his office has notified Delegate Terry Kilgore and Fairview residents that the project has been stalled. When Dishman asked VDH why it denied the PSA’s funding request, VDH responded that Scott County “has too many projects going on with their funding.”

“It doesn’t make sense,” Dishman said. “Fairview is a project that VDH should want to happen as soon as possible because of the health issues out there, and they normally want to participate in projects with other agencies.”

What’s next?

Dishman said the PSA hopes to get as much funding as it can from the CWDF and LENOWISCO to get the project back on track.

In the meantime, the BOS agreed to write a letter to elected officials and to VDH reiterating the need for the project.

“It should rank high in their applications just because Scott County is trying to address a lot of issues with drinking water and have some projects on the books more than other localities because our need is greater,” Dishman said. “I don’t think that’s a reason to penalize us on this project.”

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