Comanche Co. cities receive REAP grants - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Comanche Co. cities receive REAP grants

COMANCHE CO., Okla_ The City of Geronimo gets a hefty grant for its Sewage Lagoon Project.

The city said a recent $45,000 grant from the Association of South Central Oklahoma Government is putting it one step closer to completing the $1.4M project.

The Department of Environmental Quality placed Geronimo under a consent order in 2007, because of overflow from the sewage lagoons after record heavy rains.

Mayor Edward Mounts said this grant will help the city save almost a half a million dollars towards the project. He said the money will go towards crushing concrete slabs, which were donated by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The crushed concrete will be packed along the embankments on the sewage lagoons to help stop erosion. Mounts said if the city were to purchase the crushed concrete, it could have cost them up to $500,000. It's money small towns like Geronimo just don't have.

Mounts said the overhaul of the sewage lagoons is required by the Department of Environmental Quality. So, if the city doesn't meet certain project goals, it could face hefty fines

"You can pay fines on top of fines, or you can fix the project," Mayor Mounts said. "When they fine you, they kind of stop you from working on it. A town of our size, with a $30,000 fine that you could put towards the project itself, it makes a huge impact on what we can do and what we can't do."

Mounts said obtaining a grant is no easy feat, especially when it comes to matching funds. He said most agencies require cities to have some money set aside for a project before they're considered for a grant.

"We've managed to save up some money to help with some matching funds," Mounts said, "But it's nowhere close to the matching funds for the type of grants we need. In the next two to three years, we need two $250,000 grants. That means we'd have to have around $100,000 per grant in matching funds."

Mayor Mounts said this project has been a huge undertaking, and for a town of 1,200 people with limited tax revenue, these types of grants are vital for development. He said city council will discuss options to help pay for the lagoon project on January 24th.

"Everything from upgrading what we have to building a whole new system," Mounts said. "That's a $4M project. Not speaking for the people, but I am sure they'd rather have a one versus four."

Mayor Mounts said the meeting starts at 7pm at the Geronimo Elementary School. He said members of ASCOG will be there to help explain the process. He's encouraging all citizens of Geronimo to come to the meeting.

Mayor mounts said he hopes to have the project completed in the next two to three years.

 

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