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Red Bay officials seek federal funds

By Staff
Melissa Cason
RED BAY – The Red Bay City Council held a special meeting Thursday to discuss applying for money from the economic stimulus package proposed in Congress.
Mayor Bobby Forsythe said he was informed that the money will go through the state's revolving accounts, and will be awarded through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
"This is more like a loan than a grant," Forsythe told the council. "There has been some talk that there will be principal forgiveness, which means it would be more like a grant, but right now it's looking more like a loan."
Forsythe said the city needs $707,000 in order to get out from under the consent order imposed by ADEM 18 months ago.
"We were given two years to get the system updated," Forsythe said. "So we've got another six months before our deadline."
The board voted to apply for the loan/grant from ADEM.
"It's the fastest, quickest, most effective way to get the problem solved," councilman David Tiffin said.
Forsythe said phase one of the plan was completed by the prior administration when eight more aerators were purchased for the system. Phase two, which calls for upgrading the lagoon, was recently bid out. The city received a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for $28,000.
The bid came in under that amount so the council hopes to purchase four more aerators with the remaining money.
Forsythe said the biggest obstacle they are having is money to fund it.
"The money is the biggest obstacle on this project," Forsythe said. "If we had the money, we could get things wrapped up."
Forsythe said there is no timetable as to when the loan/grant from the economic stimulus package will be awarded.
"It all depends on what they do in Washington," he said.