Charleston awarded federal grant funds

By CLAY MCFERRIN,

The city of Charleston has been awarded $77,100 in federal matching grants for the purchase of a new police car, police radios and a machine that harnesses water pressure to open clogged sewer lines.

Both of the Rural Development Community Facility Disaster Grant awards are based on a 75/25 cost share, with the federal government paying 75% of the purchase price and local government responsible for kicking in the rest.

Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson announced the awards on Tuesday.

A  $35,100 grant will be used to help buy a vehicle and five portable radios for the Charleston Police Department.

A $42,000 grant will facilitate purchase of a  new PipeHunter power jet apparatus with a 700-gallon water tank and a hydraulic-driven 600-foot capacity hose reel.

Mayor Sedrick Smith said the funds are greatly needed.

“We’ve been working on these for a while,” he noted, “and we were fortunate enough to be able to get awarded the grants. We appreciate all of the assistance we have received during this process.”

He said the new police cruiser will be used to replace one now mothballed — restoring the city’s fleet to five police cars — and the new radios are needed to ensure dependable communications between the dispatcher and officers in the field, or from officer to officer.

“We try to provide the police department with all the tools they need so we can keep the community safe,” said Smith.

The sewer equipment replaces a similar machine that was more than a decade old, he explained.

“With our dilapidated sewer system and overwhelming sewer problems, we needed this upgrade. It is much overdue.”

He said the old PipeHunter apparatus had become a costly burden for the city.

“The engine and pumps had been replaced, and it was just time to move on,” Smith explained.