The city of Leesville may be considering a new source of funding that could soon help them begin repairs on its ailing water system through the help of the Deparment of Health and Hospitals (DHH).

The city of Leesville may be considering a new source of funding that could soon help them begin repairs on its ailing water system through the help of the Deparment of Health and Hospitals (DHH).  
At Monday's city council meeting, Mark McCarty, of Meyer and Associates, told the council that the city could embark on a grant/loan combination through the DHH and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), instead of going solely through the USDA as originally planned.
McCarty said that the DHH initially contacted the city about the possibility of doing grant/loan funding through them instead of the USDA, and while McCarty said that their principle forgiveness program — the grant portion — was appealing, he was concerned about the DHH's 20-year caps on its loans. The USDA, likewise, allows terms of up to 40 years.
"We simply cannot go through the DHH due to the scope of the project," McCarty said.
However, he said that there is a possibility of doing grant/loan funding through both entities, as the turnaround on a DHH loan is traditionally quicker than that of a USDA loan. In that scenario, McCarty said that the city would enter into an agreement with the DHH to do some smaller projects and then, when the city is ready to proceed with the USDA, they can refinance the loan with the DHH and incorporate that into the USDA funding.
McCarty said that there was not a concrete idea of what projects might be completed using DHH funding, but he said he thought it would be advantageous for the city to do a $4-5 million project to take full effect of the maximum $1.125 million principle forgiveness program. He did say that leak detection services performed by Entech Engineering, which includes infrared technology, would probably be included in the DHH portion of the funding. Council also approved engaging Entech's services at Monday's meeting.
The council also approved a resolution allowing the city to submit for grant/loan funding to the USDA for the construction of a new fire substation and the purchase of new trucks along La. 467. Fire chief Dewaine Lawson said that the project would total roughly $1.95 million, with the new station costing between $600,000 and $750,000, and new two new trucks costing roughly $600,000 each.
Lawson said the amount of money they would receive would depend on the amount available from the USDA.