Columbus awarded $140,000 in stimulus funding for sewer project

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Town of Columbus last week was awarded $140,000 from the first round of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The town applied for the stimulus funding to complete a $280,600 sewer rehabilitation project that will consist of replacing 35 manhole covers in the area referred to as the Milliken line section. The stimulus funding requires half of the project costs to be covered by grant funds and the other half to be a no-interest loan.

Columbus Town Manager Tim Holloman says he will recommend to town council that the other approximately $140,000 be financed through the no-interest loan.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The manhole covers to be replaced are old brick and mortar covers that were built by hand, Holloman says. The town has problems with the covers leaking and causing infiltration into the system, which has to be treated.

Holloman says the town also applied for N.C. Rural Center grant monies this year for the same amount ($280,000) to extend the project to other manhole covers that also cause problems in the town. He says the rural center grant is also 50/50 match, but the town will have to finance its half with a regular loan if awarded the rural center grant. The town should know if it will receive that grant sometime after July 1.

The stimulus money is ready to be distributed and Holloman says the town should be able to request bids for the project immediately. The town plans to award a contract in the next couple of months and construction should begin sometime this summer.

N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue announced last week that nearly $46 million will be awarded to 36 communities in 30 North Carolina counties for wastewater and stormwater projects from the first distributions of the stimulus money. The Town of Lake Lure was one of a few areas awarded the maximum amount allowed by the program at $3 million for water and sewer infrastructure upgrades.

The application deadline for round two of the stimulus funding is June 3. For the second round, the state is seeking quality green project applications, along with other wastewater and stormwater projects that meet ARRA program criteria and are on the state project list.

Columbus and all other award recipients in the first round will have to seek financing approval from the N.C. Local Government Commission before proceeding.