Resident urges unity for entire city

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 09:29 AM.

“My water is chocolate brown,” she said. “What about our tax money? What do we get for our tax money? We can only take so much.”

City commissioners carved out the area of North Port St. Joe to the first phase of water pipe replacement – the city is targeting some 20 miles of aged pipes in stages – because the project in that area likely qualified for a Community Development Block Grant due to a variety of factors.

That part of the first phase was funded by CDBG – the city has a loan/grant package from the State Revolving Fund for the majority of the work – and the city has applied in the next CDBG cycle to complete the replacement of pipes in North Port St. Joe.

In addition, due to the duplication of efforts involved, the pipe replacement project was linked to another grant-funded project – this by the USDA – to replace sidewalks along Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.

And a series of delays – governmental red tape with two agencies involved, the shutdown of the federal government, contracting bids that came in originally over grant amounts – have led to the project being moved back again and again.

Commissioner Bo Patterson had repeatedly reflected the sentiments of constituents by expressing frustration with the lack of progress, even a start date for construction, for the water line replacement.

What was originally supposed to be accomplished in the summer was pushed back to November and now will likely not begin before the first of the year.

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