Sunday, April 11, 2021
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Cookeville Applying For Grant To Rehab West End Sewers

Cookeville will apply for a community development block grant to rehab sewer facilities in the West End area.

City Council approved the $741,000 grant application Thursday night. Planning Director Jon Ward said the city applied in 2020, but fell two points short in the assessment process.

“Our application was very close to being funded,” Ward said. “With guidance from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development staff, the City of Cookeville is proposing to increase the local match to earn additional points on the grant application.”

Cookeville’s match, if the grant is approved, would be $160,000. Ward said the project includes the replacement of some 4,100 square feet of line, a pump station, and the rehab of other items.

“The proposed improvements will eliminate the risk of environmental impacts of sewage overflows that are hazardous to human health and water quality,” Ward said.

Earlier this week, City Manager James Mills said this may be the last time Cookeville can apply for a CDBG grant. New census data is expected to put Cookeville in a different population class which would fund such grant projects through the federal government.

Council also passed a resolution Thursday asking the legislature to oppose a resolution that would prohibit cities and counties from requiring right of way dedications from landowners when property along existing roadways is subdivided and developed.

“The basic principle behind the dedication requirement is that the developer, in increasing the density along an existing street, is contributing to the need for improvements and should at minimum dedicate property to accommodate those improvements instead of the taxpayer paying the entire cost,” Ward said.

Senator Paul Bailey and House Representative Ryan Williams co-sponsored the bill which has been assigned to a subcommittee. The state’s fiscal review committee said the bill would increase local expenses by more than $1 million annually. Under state law, the legislature would be forced to pay some of that cost if the bill passes.

Also Thursday, City Council set a public hearing for April 15 to consider a change to the Cookeville Land Use plan. The parcels in question are along West Broad Street and are currently classified as lower density residential. The proposed change would include local commercial development being possible in the area.

The council approved the bid for the City Hall Drive-Thru addition. Construction will begin soon. The city will purchase a front-load sanitation truck priced at $257,000. The city will save between $10-30,000 according to Public Works Director Greg Brown. Brown said he is seeing a significant increase in prices on these trucks currently. The truck will be paid for through department reserves.

The council also honored Planning Director Jon Ward for his part in helping a city employee last month who was choking.

“Members of the city council do hereby proclaim a profound sense of appreciation to Jonathan Ward for his exemplary service to others,” Mayor Ricky Shelton read from the proclamation.

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