Advertisement

EDITORIAL: Professional survey a good investment for Lancaster

August 07, 2003

If it makes the difference between getting a federal grant and not getting it, the city of Lancaster ought to make sure that a survey of city residents is conducted properly.

At a meeting Monday, the city council discussed problems it has encountered in getting approval for a $568,000 grant for water line improvements. Receiving the grant means the difference between the average resident paying 63 cents or $1.49 more a month for the water line project, which has a total cost of $1.135 million.

A previous effort to apply for the grant was hurt by the fact that a survey of city water customers did not show that at least 51 percent were "low and moderate income" according to government guidelines. Application for a federal grant also requires that half of the surveys must be correctly filled out and returned. In Lancaster's case, only 125 out of 475 forms were returned.

Advertisement

The city's interim utility manager, Millard Rose, has suggested that the city hire a professional company at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000 to do another survey, and some city officials believe such a survey would show that the city meets the guidelines for the grant.

There's reason to believe they might be correct. Census figures for the city show that it is 50.5 percent "low and moderate income," only a hair shy of the 51 percent needed to qualify for a federal HUD Community Development Block Grant, and those income figures are based on only a sampling of Lancaster residents. A good survey likely would be more accurate. Furthermore, a survey would include several hundred water customers who are outside the city limits and were not included in the Census figures.

The improvements are needed to correct water pressure problems at fire hydrants, increase water pressure for customers and to reduce leakage in the system. By reducing the amount of money the city would have to borrow to pay for the water project, getting the grant would save the city and its water customers a great deal of money over the 40-year term of the loan. One official has estimated a savings of $18,000 a year. Over 40 years that adds up to some real money.

Even if the city has only a 50/50 chance of getting the $568,000 grant, putting $3,000 to $5,000 into a survey is a good investment with a high potential return.

Central Kentucky News Articles
|
|
|