ORCSA Grants Awarded

News Release:

The Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) today announced it has awarded grants totaling $1,250,426 to the cities of Grapeland, Jasper, Woodville and Houston County for disaster relief projects related to Hurricane Rita. The grants are being awarded through the agency's $30,537,574 portion of the federal Community Development Block Grant dollars that came to Texas from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earlier this summer. The funds are earmarked for infrastructure, public service and public facility projects.

The city of Grapeland will receive $19,800 to purchase one 15 kW generator for use at the lift station.

The city of Jasper will apply a portion of its $747,133 award as a Federal Emergency Management Agency match for additional funding. The city will also purchase and install four 180 kW generators for use at four water well plant sites; install one 350 kW generator for use at the wastewater treatment plant, two 125 kW generators for use at two sewer booster pump stations; and one 60 kW generator at a lift station; install approximately 231 new electrical poles; 340 cross arms; 130 transformers and 41 miles of electrical power lines.

The city of Woodville will also apply a portion of its $264,993 award as a Federal Emergency Management Agency match for additional funding to repair water lines and electrical controls at the water plant. The city will also purchase and install one 300 kW generator and a 100 kW generator, including manual transfer switch, new disconnect, concrete pads and electrical installation at the Carlow Hill water plant and the Sims Street water well. In addition, the city will purchase a 300 kW generator including manual transfer switch, new disconnect and electrical installation for the wastewater treatment plant, and repair lift stations, manholes and electrical controls at the treatment plant.

Houston County will receive $218,500 to purchase and install one 150 kW emergency generator at Consolidated Water Supply Corporation water plant.

"Deep East Texas area officials have been working hard to identify the most distraught locations and the greatest infrastructure needs in which to apply these much needed albeit limited dollars," noted ORCA Executive Director, Charles S. (Charlie) Stone. "We share their goal to provide the most benefit to most low- to moderate-income persons as possible with this funding."

The $30.5 million ORCA is administering is the agency's portion (43.13 percent) of the state's $74.5 million Community Development Block Grant supplemental funds received in June 2006 from HUD. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is administering 56.87 percent of the funds for housing activities.

ORCA's hurricane disaster relief funds were allocated to the four planning regions affected by Hurricane Rita based on the greatest documented need and the most distressed areas. The 29-county area comprises the East Texas Council of Governments, Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), Houston-Galveston Area Council and South East Texas Regional Planning Commission regions.

Local governments in the 12-county DETCOG area will receive a total of $12,278,209 from ORCA's $30.5 million relief program. On August 31, 2006 ORCA awarded 23 grants totaling $1,247,336 to the DETCOG area. This award brings DETCOG's total awards to $2,497,762 with the remaining funds to be awarded by ORCA as applications are received from area officials. DETCOG's total allocation includes monies to be used to cover grant administration costs.

ORCA's door is always open for your comments and suggestions regarding the agency, or rural issues in general. Contact ORCA at P.O. Box 12877, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone: 512-936-6701 Toll free: 800-544-2042 E-mail: orca@orca.state.tx.us Fax: 512-936-6776. On the web: www.orca.state.tx.us