HOLT, Fla. April 2, 2021—Holt Water Works wants to build a new water well, pump and water tower to improve service to its members.
And an income survey—about to land in Holt Water members’ mailboxes—is needed to help secure the funds to pay for the project.
Building a new well, pump and tower requires a lot of money, so Holt Water board members are looking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Water Division for financial assistance to pay for the project.
Holt Water Works was built using USDA’s grant program in the early 1960s and the newer 300,000-gallon water tower located in the industrial park was also built using federal grants and loans.
Holt Water hopes to repeat the process for a new well, pump and tower on Galliver Cutoff.
Related: “Water tower looks new again”
The most recent U.S. census data, used to determine grant eligibility, indicate the median household income for the Holt area is too high to qualify for a large grant because the data include areas surrounding Holt.
However, if an income survey of only water members proves otherwise, Holt Water could qualify for a larger grant.
To help refine the accurate average household income for this area, Holt Water members will receive a government-looking survey in the mail with a return address of a non-Holt resident.
Although a first impulse will be to toss it in the trash like a piece of junk mail, don’t throw it away.
“When you get that official-looking letter and survey, don’t throw it out,” said Holt Water manager Donna Ash. “It’s vital that everyone fill out the survey and send it back in. Our grant—and your improved water service—depends on everyone’s response.”
Because income surveys must be conducted by a neutral third party, Joan Douglas with Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project is heading up the survey. She was instrumental in helping Holt Water secure financing to build the industrial park water tower that was completed in 2006.
All responses will go directly to Southeast Rural and will only be used to help justify a larger grant for the well, pump and tower project, said Ash.
“Survey information will not be held in the Holt Water office. All responses go directly to Southeast Rural,” she said. “We won’t even see the individual responses.”
For the survey to be effective, at least 900 of Holt Water’s 921 members need to return their surveys.
“If we don’t get enough completed surveys returned, we’ll have to start knocking on doors to get the information,” Ash said. “We really don’t want to have to do that, but if it means getting a bigger grant and saves our members money, then that’s what we’ll have to do.”
Holt members who have questions or concerns about the survey are encouraged to contact Donna Ash at 850-537-4113, send an email to email@example.com or stop by the office Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.