Madison County officials recently presented Mitchell Public Water District with $100,000 in ARPA funding.
County Board members Matt King of East Alton and John Janek of Granite City presented the water district’s office manager, Ginger Toolen, with a “large” check earlier this month, marking the first payment in American Rescue Plan Act funding for infrastructure upgrades to water districts.
The county presented the check after the completion of the districts projects, which included installing smart meters and centralized storage/warehousing.
King, who works for the water district, said the funding is much appreciated.
“The water district is committed to maintaining quality delivery to its customers by installing a cost-effective and innovative system,” King said.
King said the new system would automate the meter reading-to-billing process by linking its meters, distribution site and control devices in a single date network. The updated technology is designed to automate the collection of meter readings, provide customers with a better understanding of their water bills and help identify leaks that are responsible for property damage and the loss of water.
In April 2022, the County Board approved granting eight water districts the ARPA funding as they did not receive any federal monies. The board made the decision after receiving ARPA monies to assist with projects not funded by any other means.
King said most districts cannot afford to take on debt to replace aging infrastructure or equipment and the county’s granting of ARPA monies is a huge help.
“Public water districts struggle to take on big projects,” he said. “With this funding we didn’t have to delay projects or borrow money.”
The county picked projects that met ARPA’s funding guidelines and had the greatest impact.
“The water district is appreciative of the fact the county found the money to do these projects,” Janek said. ““Water districts seldom receive grants. This investment makes sure water districts continue to deliver services to taxpayers in unincorporated areas of the county.”