LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - The Mayor of Lumberton has signed a contract with the Army Corps of Engineers for a $2.5 million dollar grant to improve the city's water lines, but now he must choose how the city will pay its portion of the money.
"Our water lines, that's where our major problems are," Ben Winston, the mayor of Lumberton, said. "We're losing 40 percent of the water we're producing, so in other words, we got money flying out the window."
The grant will pay 75 percent of the project's total cost, but requires Lumberton to pay the remaining 25 percent. Winston told Seven on Your Side in a previous interview that would be around $625,000.
Winston said Wednesday the city has been approved by the Mississippi Development Authority to apply for Capital Improvements Revolving Loan Program (CAP) for up to $600,000. However, at the Lamar Board of Supervisors meeting on July 6, Winston said he may have to ask the board for financial help.
"We going to need 25 percent matching on the Corps of Engineers grant," Winston said in the meeting Monday. He was interrupted by Supervisor Warren Byrd, who said he thought the city already had the match. Winston continued, "The match would help us along, but just in case, we might be coming back to see if y'all could maybe help us out. Maybe for a donation."
Winston said on Wednesday he wasn't serious.
"I was just joking with them in the process of just being there," Winston said. "Just, you know, kidding with them."
Byrd said he is not sure why Winston would have brought it up at the meeting if it was a joke.
Winston said while the loan is an option, he is hoping to use separate grant money Lumberton already has as the matching fund for the new Corps of Engineers grant.
"We might not even have to use any loan money from the CAP," Winston said. "We might be able to have a benefit out of this process of getting the whole thing done with grant money."
The mayor said the city currently has a $450,000 grant to be used for sewage improvement projects that he hopes to use as part of the matching fund.
"If we can get this Corps of Engineers grant kicked off by the end of September, we're going to be able to use that $450,000 against our portion on that 25 percent match," he said. "Somewhere around the neighborhood of 200 something thousand dollars left for us to come up with."