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CRA places hold on $2 million for Water District

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By Kellie Parkin

After much discussion and disagreement, the Community Redevelopment Agency Board, made up by the city commissioners, voted Tuesday night to put a hold on the  $2 million previously committed to the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District Phase II projects.

The motion made by Scott Dennison, seconded by Pat O’Neal, approved nearly $60,000 of CRA money for CKWSD to perform a video and smoke study of the water and sewer lines. The remaining money, not to exceed $2 million total, will be put on hold until the water district has confirmation of the most pressing needs of the community and decides which areas need the most focus. The vote was tied with Heath Davis and Gene Hodges dissenting, and Chairwoman Sue Colson gave final approval by voting yes.

The funds have not been taken away and will not be assigned to other CRA projects, according to the CRA Board. The decision to hold the money back stems from the CRA Board’s concern that the water district’s phase II intentions are unclear.  After the smoke and video test is completed and the water district has determined a clear plan for repairs, the CRA Board will reallocate the needed funds. 

Mayor Heath Davis expressed reservations about the changes in decisions made by CKWSD. “It’s frustrating because every time we get something from them its different,” Davis said. “Its time to say ‘look we really want to work with you all, and when you’re ready, and if we have the money, lets gets together.”

The CRA Board unanimously passed a second motion, approving an additional $40,000 for the water district to have an engineering study performed. The study is necessary in order for CKWSD to submit a loan and grant application to USDA.  The motion carried a stipulation that if the loan is received, the CRA would be reimbursed.

Gene Hodges made the motion and expressed urgency in the matter. “We need to get them to get that engineering report to get that loan going as soon as possible,” he said.