U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson and John Allen, state director of USDA/Rural Development, delivered a check for $600,100 to the City of Monette Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Monette Service Center.
The check was presented to Monette Mayor David Fletcher, as part of the funding from the 2002 Farm Bill, appropriated in June this year. This project was onr of the 23 projects that received $34,908,950 in funding in the state of Arkansas. There were 377 projects and over $700,000,000 in projects funded through the United States from these farm bill funds. These funds were specially appropriated to help fund a portion of the backlog in water and waste applications that USDA/Rural Development has in its water and waste program. Arkansas was third highest in the amount of funds used in the nation.
The City of Monette had made application for the funding in October of 2000, earmarked for improvements to its water system. Until now, USDA had not been able to fund the project due to the backlog that existed in the state. The Monette project funding consists of a loan of $357,530 and a grant of $242,570.
"We have approximately 600 users on our system, as well as supplying some water to the Buffalo Island Regional Water system," Fletcher said. "Our existing water storage tank only has a little over seven hours of water storage. The State Health Department requires at least 24 hours of water storage. To correct this problem, we need to add a 200,000 gallon water storage tank to our present system. Some additional water line improvements will also be made to provide better water flow and for fire protection to the city.
"We have already made several improvements to the water and sewer system, over the past few years. We plan to make other improvements as soon as funding is obtained, in order for the systems to keep up with the growth of the city and the new government standards.
"Our current water system has pressure problems with the tank being on one side of town and the water plant to the city being on the other. This funding will help us put in new lines, to improve the water flow and the pressure."
Wayne Menley, with Miller Newell Engineering of Newport, serves as Monette's project engineer. Monette's current population is 1,179. Mayor Fletcher anticipates that bids will be let on the project by next spring.