Como may reap benefits from mayor’s trip
By John Howell
Como Mayor Everette Hill has returned from a trip to Washington with an upbeat report about the town’s probability of qualifying for a long-sought USDA loan to finance water and sewer rehabilitation.
“I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be approved,” Hill said Tuesday night, speaking to aldermen and Como citizens attending the regular town board meeting.
Hill said that he had made the trip as a member of the Mississippi Rural Water Association’s board of directors, “so it didn’t cost the town a quarter.”
The mayor said he met with Congressman Bennie Thompson and Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker seeking help for the approval of Como’s USDA/Rural Development Agency grant/loan application for $4.79 million.
“They all told me they’re going to make a phone call,” Hill said, “and that’s all we need from them is a phone call. So everybody keep praying that we get this.”
The $4.9 million would pay for rehabilitation of the lagoon treatment facility where wastewater from the town’s sewerage is collected and held until treated and cleaning and repainting the town’s 300,000 gallon water tank inside and out.
Any leftover funds would be used to replace and repair sewer lines along the collection system.
The mayor said that at least 45 percent of the amount will come to the town as a grant, “and we’re going after the 75 percent money,” he added.
During a March 15, 2016 public hearing about the loan application, James Woodall of Cook-Coggins Engineers said that the project includes two grant applications, one of which will pay 45 percent for the work on the water system, the second will pay 75 percent of sewer rehabilitation. Como is under directive from the Environmental Protection Agency to bring its sewer treatment system into compliance water quality standards.
The Mississippi Rural Water Association is a non-profit organization that offers technical assistance and training to water and wastewater utilities. Como joined the association in 2011. Mayor Hill was appointed to organization’s board of director’s last year.