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R’boro eyes CDBG grant, talks top town needs

By Lauren Williams Staff Writer

February 27, 2014

Roseboro commissioners and town employees put their heads together to narrow down the town’s greatest needs Wednesday evening during a special meeting with the hope that some of those needs might be funded by a new Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for which they are looking to soon apply.


According to Floyd Adams of the Adams Company, which will help the town structure its grant, the CDBG is “kind of new but old” with the new part being the source of the funding — previously CDBG monies came from the state’s Department of Commerce but now will be distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR).


A total of $26 million is up for grabs statewide for water, sewer, and infrastructure needs; the grant no longer includes housing needs, he explained. The town can seek as much as $3 million over a three-year period, but to qualify for those dollars, projects will be required to benefit 51 percent of the town’s low to moderate income families.


With the application deadline of April 1 quickly approaching and with two public hearings required to be held between now and then, Adams asked town commissioners to go ahead and share what is most important to them so that he will know what issues to focus on as he works on their grant application, stressing that “the greater the need the better the (town’s) scores are going to be.”


Both Commissioner Roland Hall and Mayor David Alexander mentioned extending the town’s waterlines to the soon coming, expanded Hwy. 24 as well as potentially tying its water in with neighboring Salemburg.


While agreeing that pursuing such was a good idea, Commissioner Alice Butler turned the board’s attention to the town’s waste water treatment plant.


“That’s where our biggest need is,” she pointed out. “We’ve got to take care of what we’ve got right now.”


Also present for the special meeting were David Phillips, Roseboro’s Public Work director; Sandy Monroe, town employee; Travis Anderson, contracted ORC (operator and responsible charge) for Roseboro’s water system; and Neil Carroll, contracted ORC for the town’s waste water treatment plant, all of whom offered their own input at the town board’s request.


Anderson reminded commissioners of the town’s recent boil water notice, a safety measure that was enforced earlier this month when the town’s water had to be shut off so five inoperable fire hydrants could be replaced or fixed; the town of Autryville was also impacted by this notice as Roseboro supplies Autryville with water.


Anderson suggested that some of the grant funding could be used to install approximately six additional valves, ones that can be put in and worked on under pressure, eliminating the need to issue a town-wide boil water advisory. He also mentioned updating the water system’s chemical and chlorine feeds as well as the system’s facilities.


Carroll added his own items to the list, noting that “there are a lot of electrical problems at the waste water treatment plant,” explaining how only one side of the plant is operational.


“So you’re saying that half of the plant is dead,” questioned Bob Mitchell, also with the Adams Company, which Carroll confirmed.


Carroll also noted that the plant’s in-flow pumps are in need of new drives, the often hot building needs a cooling unit, the existing grit chamber does not “auger out” properly, flow meters have to be set manually, and autodialers need to be added to all of the town’s lift stations/sewage collection systems, an improvement that would provide 24-hour monitoring.


Expressing their thanks for the information, commissioners agreed, with Hall calling all of the plant’s needs “a high priority.”


Public works director Phillips also shared his concerns about the reliability of the water that is supplied to Roseboro’s dialysis center.


“You’ve got people doing dialysis there,” he stressed, pointing out that the center should be notified two to three hours in advance of water problems or of the town shutting off its water; however, such advance notice isn’t always possible.


“I’m not going to put those people in jeopardy. It scares me every time we have to shut them down,” he continued, expressing a desire for some kind of back-up to be in place for the center. Anderson and Carroll agreed on the need as well, sharing, in response to more inquiries from Mitchell, that the town has three wells but only one generator.


As Adams finished taking notes on the town’s needs, Mitchell pointed out to commissioners that “DENR looks for things that are trouble.”


“These guys know what major is,” he said, gesturing toward the town employees and ORCs. “I think any of it would be considered a major challenge.”


“You’ve got some needs that need to be addressed,” interjected Adams, adding that he will look at the scoring process for the grant and work to figure out which needs will likely score the best, increasing the town’s chances of receiving funding.


“It’s always been very competitive and it still will be,” he shared.


According to information Adams received, the state is looking accept grant applications through April 1 and then begin to award funding as soon as May 17.


The first of the two public hearings required for the grant will be held Tuesday, March 11, 7 p.m. during the town’s regular monthly meeting. The second public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19 at 5:15 p.m.


Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at lwilliams@civitasmedia.com.