Town leaders are applying for grant funding for waterworks projects they’ve been talking about for at least three years.

The town is asking for up to $600,000 from the Community Development Block Grant program.

The council will know in August whether or not the town will get it and what they’ll need to do from there, said consultant Deb Lilly from Administrative Resources association.

To do all the projects on its recommended priority list, the town also plans to apply for $1.2 million in grants and loans from USDA Rural Development.

The list includes extending a water main on Freeman Ridge to provide another source of water for town customers; replacing about one-third of the meters throughout the Nashville Utilities system to improve billing accuracy and reduce labor costs; demolishing the unneeded water tank and booster station on the hill at Kirts’ Garage; and replacing the booster station in Schooner Valley to distribute water to town from East Monroe Water Company when needed.

If both sources of funding come together, the town will be able to complete all four projects. An engineering report completed in December estimated the total cost at about $1.8 million.

If the town doesn’t get that much federal funding, the council could choose to cut projects, said Town Utility Coordinator Sean Cassiday. His recommendation would be putting off the tank demolition and the booster station work.

In 2014, the town planned to ask OCRA for $1.9 million in grants for waterworks projects through the Stellar Communities program, but Nashville/Brown County was not named a Stellar Community and had to enter the regular grant cycle instead.

The plan is to not increase utility bills or taxes to do this work, Cassiday said.

He predicts that the meter project will save the town money because of the drastically reduced staff time spent on meter reading after the new radio-read ones are installed.

The town has to send a letter of intent to apply for the OCRA grant by April 9. If the state chooses to allow Nashville to apply, a site visit will be scheduled and the application will be due June 10, Lilly said.

Once funding is awarded, the town will have to complete the projects within 18 months, she said.

The engineering report also strongly recommended the town install pressure-reducing valves in its water system, as pressure in the lines was well over recommended pounds per square inch and causing frequent line breaks.

Cassiday said that is a separate priority project that needs to be done before the other work. No funding has been secured for it yet, he said.

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Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.