Aldermen for the Village of Gilbert addressed work on ongoing and planned improvements and celebrated the completion of several projects during the Sept. 10 meeting of the village’s board of aldermen.

The aldermen adopted a resolution of intent Thursday to issue sewer revenue bonds for a portion of costs related to sewer improvements in the village, while they await news from a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant.

The action came during Gilbert’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Present for the meeting were two of the village’s three aldermen – Susan Britt and Randy Lloyd. Christine Ezell serves as the third member of the board

The estimated cost of the project is $1.4 million. A grant received from USDA will cover $821,000 of the project, leaving a balance of $588,000.

The village recently applied for the Louisiana Development Block Grant (LCDBG) to cover the balance. The grant, if approved, would be awarded in April, 2021.

If unable to secure a grant, the balance of the project cost will be funded by a low-interest loan from USDA. The loan would be repaid from the village’s Enterprise Fund from collections for sewer services over a period of years.

.Mayor Mike Stephens noted efforts to obtain funding for much-needed improvements to the village’s sewer system have been in the works for about three years.

Funding will be used for upgrades to the sewer system which include repairing sewer lines on Third and Fourth streets, installation of an additional lift station, refurbishing current lift stations and repair of manholes, according to Stephens.

Ken McManus with McManus Consulting Engineers of Monroe is engineer for the project.

A $25,000 CWEF grant was also completed recently. The grant provided funding for improvements to the village’s water system including new meters and valves.

In another matter related to improvement of village-owned property, Stephens called attention to newly-installed energy-efficient windows at the Gilbert Community Center where the meeting was held. Stephens noted that the windows were installed without sacrificing the original woodwork surrounding them. The facility dates back to 1956.

The new windows were made possible through a grant from Entergy and are expected to cut heating and cooling costs related to operation of the community center. The bid for the project was awarded to contractor Stacy Thomas of Thomas Construction. The windows were installed at a cost of $9875 which was covered by the grant.

The village now has the use of a new truck for work purposes thanks to a grant from LGAP. The 2020 Chevrolet truck was purchased from Waller-Singer Chevrolet and was delivered Monday. Issues surrounding COVID-19 had caused a delay in getting the truck.

Another grant, one from the Franklin Parish Tourism Commission in the amount of $1,500, will be used to replace diseased rose bushes in the town’s medium with sod and an improved sprinkler system. The board of aldermen agreed at the recent meeting to change plans from planting more roses to instead planting sod after it was advised that the disease affecting the roses would affect future plantings.

The board also agreed to use the remaining funds to purchase an additional picnic table for the gazebo area. The Gilbert Women’s Club recently provided a concrete slab for the area and will also provide a picnic table.

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