By Elsa Maxey
A $311,000 community development block grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be helping the City of Arcola with city-wide water system improvements. The grant has been awarded for upgrades that include constructing and installing a water distribution and supply system in the southern part of the city. Specifically, the project’s service area is bounded on the north by the railroad and Briscoe Canal. On the west, the boundary is FM 521 and roughly by the city limits on the south and east, according to an agreement entered between the City of Arcola and Fort Bend County.
Fort Bend County is the grantee of the funds and is charged with the responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions about the use of the grant monies. Because the “city is not familiar with such federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to the expenditure” of the community development block grant government funds, the agreement reads, the county will approve the project bid award and will also periodically inspect the project’s progress during construction. The city, on the other hand, will design and administer the construction contracts and provide for inspection personnel to assure project compliance.
So, when is the water system improvements project going to be finished? Here’s a clue. The agreement between the city and the county became effective upon execution by Fort Bend County, which recently occurred with the unanimous approval action by commissioners court. The agreement will terminate at the completion of the project, but no later than April 30, 2014…or about a year from now.
Last year findings from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relating to water and wastewater infrastructure in the City of Arcola said it lacked a comprehensive system for water supply in the city. Most of the water, with the exception of three small water supply companies, was determined to be provided by private water wells producing low quality water.