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Stimulus funds in the works for local cities
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Both Richmond Hill and Pembroke are getting Federal stimulus money, it was recently announced. And more is being applied for.

The City of Pembroke was just approved for $380,000 for water improvements while the Richmond Hill Police Department was just approved for $18,000 for training and supplies. Meanwhile, the City of Richmond Hill just applied for nearly a million dollars for water and sewer improvements.

The governor’s office just sent out a press release announcing the approval of $380,615 in stimulus money for water improvements in Pembroke, which Pembroke City Administrator Frank Etheridge said is "exactly what we asked for. The funds are much-needed to get the water system where it needs to be." The funds are to come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

With the money, Etheridge said the city plans to replace all the existing two-inch water lines in the southwest part of the city and also install fire hydrants. He said the water lines will increase to six and eight inch lines.

"You can’t do fire protection on two-inch lines," Etheridge said. "We’ll be replacing a lot of the old lines, so this should improve water quality in the city as well."

The $18,000 the RHPD was just approved for will go toward enhancing the training programs at the department, including additional training tools and equipment for the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and narcotics enforcement. Eligibility is based on data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting data and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"It’s great to have a chance to receive these funds," Reynolds said. "Our budget was slimmed down this year due to the economy, so this is a valuable supplement."

The Richmond Hill City Council approved a motion Tuesday to apply for $900,000 in federal funds for water and sewer improvements.

Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton said the request is not a sure thing, but noted that "stimulus money is going quickly, so we need to act now." If received, the funds would go toward updating and repairing pump stations within the city’s water and sewer system.

The funds are being applied for through the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). Melton said the city gave GEFA, the state agency that provides water and sewer funding, a long list of items for consideration of stimulus consideration, but the organization came back with just the one item as a priority for funding. If approved, the funding will be via a $1,338,000 GEFA loan to complete the work, but "GEFA will forgive $929,000 of that loan. That’s about 70 percent."

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