Hannibal Courier-Post

City manager hopes for emergency grant funds

By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Jun. 24, 2020 10:27 am

HANNIBAL | It has been over three months since the city of Hannibal submitted an application seeking over $750,000 in emergency grant funds for a storm-water sewer repair on the South Side. Among those waiting patiently for news regarding the grant is City Manager Lisa Peck.

“We have not heard anything official yet, but we are hopeful,” she said.

According to Peck, it is not uncommon for a grant request such as Hannibal's to take time before it is funded.

“It sometimes takes a bit when you are dealing with agencies that have to route it up through the proper channels, score them (applications) and see which ones will be funded,” she said. “I am not concerned, yet. I'm hopeful. I believe that is a project that qualifies and will eventually be funded.”

If the Union Street repair does receive funding, the city would prefer to receive the money sooner than later.

“We would like to get the project underway and completed before school starts because it looks like there will probably be school (this fall) and that is a major route for the kids to go to get to that (Stowell Elementary) school,” Peck said.

The storm-water sewer collapse occurred on Feb. 2, causing a section of sidewalk to fail on which a pair of Hannibal teens were walking. Neither of them were seriously injured.

The failure occurred adjacent to Union Street, near the former Stowell Elementary School playground and the Southside Baptist Church.

The failure occurred where a street inlet connected to the storm sewer.

The city worked through the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments to submit an emergency Community Development Block Grant application for funds necessary to help complete the repair project, which was estimated to cost $832,979.

In its application the city proposed to contribute a combination of cash and in-kind labor in the amount of $81,500, with grant funds of $752,479 being requested.

While Hannibal has numerous storm-water sewer issues, Peck said earlier this year that the Union Street failure was the only one that qualifies for emergency funding because there was an injury associated with the collapse.

Although the city charter states that below-ground storm-water failures, such as the one on Union Street, are the HBPW's responsibility to repair the city has taken the point in securing funding for the repair in part because the HBPW's stormwater utility does not have a funding source. A proposal to create a designated funding source for the storm-water utility will be on the November 2020 ballot. But even if the proposition is approved by voters it is estimated that it will be the better part of a year before any revenue is collected.