HOPE — Since almost half of Hope’s deteriorating water mains are 80 years old, the northeast Bartholomew County town is planning the largest water project in the town’s history.
But if residents don’t want to pay substantially higher utility bills, they’ll need to let their voices be heard — on the phone, town leaders said.
In order to qualify for a $500,000 federal grant to help pay for a $2.9 million water system improvement project, a random telephone survey will be taken of Hope area residents.
Those receiving calls will be asked to provide details about their family size and general income range.
Such details are needed because five-year-old census data indicates at least 57 percent of Hope residents fall into the low- to moderate-income range.
If that’s still true, the northeast Bartholomew County community will qualify for financial assistance for a water main replacement project through the Community Development Block Grant program.
But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the grant program, requires income data no older than three years old.
Town leaders believe the telephone survey will help them prove income levels haven’t dramatically changed, town manager Melina Fox said.
Without grant assistance, more money will have to be borrowed to pay for the utility upgrade, resulting in substantially higher monthly utility bills, Fox said.
Employees of the firm Key Research, who will identify themselves as working for the town of Hope, will keep all survey results confidential.
Phone numbers being used in the survey are being gleaned from records kept by Hope Utilities.
Hope area residents with questions about a telephone survey being conducted can contact the Hope Town Hall at 812-546-0423.