Macon County Mayor Steve Jones is hopeful that the wheels will soon be in motion to bring city water to remote areas of the county that still do not have access to public water.

Jones told the Macon County Commission at its Nov. 1 meeting that there is nearly $5 million that the county is eligible to apply for from TDEC that could be used for waterline extensions. The county commission has already committed $2 million toward the cost for waterlines to be run to Old Bottom Road, Sycamore Valley Road, and Addison Hollow Road.

The next step, since the county does not have its own water utility district, is to meet with the districts that supply water throughout the areas of Macon County. Lafayette and Red Boiling Springs are the primary districts that provide water to residents in the county, though there are parts of the county that get water from Westmoreland, Hartsville and Smith County, according to Jones.

Currently, however, there is still 290 miles of roadway in Macon County where there is no access to city water.

“We are a unique county,” Jones said. “North Central Telephone was proactive and got cyber broadband into 100% of the homes in the county that have gigabyte fiber, whereas we still have 290 miles of roads that don’t have access to public water.”

Jones informed the commission that the American Rescue Plan funds must be designated to the project intended by December 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

“We are hoping to run water. This is coming from the American Rescue Plan. The funding is coming from that, and we got $2 million,” Jones said. “Of the $4,277,000, we committed $2 million of that to waterlines for the county. The other funds that are coming down, the state said there would be $2,105,000 coming to us directly from TDEC.

But those are going to be grant competitive, so we’ll just have to see. We are eligible for another $4.9 million, and that’s what we’re looking at in the county is getting water to a lot of residents that don’t have public water right now. But we also are dealing with each one of the utility districts. The county does not have its own water district, so we’re depending upon what area it is and who has their water source and what their capacity is to add lines.”

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