Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Grambling earmarks part of COVID-19 money to improve city’s water system

Saturday, April 3, 2021

GRAMBLING — It was announced two weeks ago that the City of Grambling would be receiving an estimated $1.9 million as part of the Biden administration’s recent COVID-19 stimulus package.

Mayor Edward Jones intimated Thursday night at the Grambling City Council meeting that he will be asking the council to use those funds to improve the city’s infrastructure.

Part of the COVID money has already been earmarked for upgrading the city’s water system, pending approval, when the money is received into the city’s coffers.

As explained by Public Works Director Carl Johnson, the city’s water system doesn’t have cutoff valves located around various neighborhoods. When there is an issue that needs to be addressed, the city has to shut off all water pressure.

The COVID money could give Grambling an opportunity to install cutoff valves, which are costly and otherwise wouldn’t be feasible without the additional federal funding.

Johnson explained that cutoff valves were supposed to be included in the city when the water system was installed.

“We have maps from when the water system was first put in,” Johnson said. “Water valves were supposed to be put in — they are on those maps — but the valves were never installed. Somebody cut corners.”

He added that everywhere you see a hydrant in Grambling, there should be a cutoff valve. There are none.

“After we get the funding we already have contractors in line,” Johnson said. “What we’re going to attempt to do is take every street in Grambling and put a cutoff valve.”

Jones also alluded to the city’s desire to bring in extra revenue by possibly turning the building currently next to Spring Market into a conference center. The plan is to use the facility to rent out for various activities.

“We want Grambling to be a model city in Louisiana. Not an African American city ... but a model city,” Jones said.

He also mentioned the city’s desire to use the Grambling Economic Development Corporation to lure more business into the city to generate additional revenue.

“We have various projects we hope to begin, such as a hotel,” Jones said.

Another project in the works but that the city can’t comment on is the possible location of a financial institution within the city limits. The mayor said they are working with state officials and the financial institution itself, but he declined to elaborate on the name of the company.

One major item on the city’s agenda was to vote on increasing the city’s capitalization threshold for capital assets from $1,000 per item to $5,000 per item.

City attorney Pamela Breedlove explained that it was merely a way to save the city time and money through their accounting procedures.

“If the city buys anything that costs $1,000 or more then it has to be listed as a capital asset and depreciated over time,” she said. “The $1,000 threshold is really too low for accounting purposes. The item still has to be listed on our inventory. You don’t have to depreciate a $1,200 computer over four years, you just go ahead and expense it. But it’s still accounted for in our inventory.”

The council passed the increased capitalization threshold unanimously.