Grant Funds to Help Improve Vass Sewer Situation
Transfer of a $1 million Rural Center grant from Vass to Moore County is expected to smooth the path toward federal funds to pay for a badly needed sewer system capital improvement.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to accept the N.C. Rural Center grant for administrative purposes. The action followed the Vass Town Board of Commissioners' decision to release the grant to the county.
The county has applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) agency for a loan and grant to cover the estimated $2 million needed to cover the remaining cost of the Little River Regional Lift Station project.
Jody Smith, Vass town administrator, said the USDA-RD will begin a new grant year in October. If the county application wins approval in the new round of loans/grants, then the Vass project should be in line to acquire sufficient funds to pay for the $3 million sewer system improvement.
"We're still thinking pretty positively," Smith said.
The Rural Center has already extended the grant deadline one time, and if USDA approval does not come through soon, the project is in danger of losing the Rural Center grant. However, Smith said she is confident that the county's application to USDA-RD is sufficient to prove good faith toward acquiring the additional funding needed for the project.
Growth, both residential and commercial, is limited in Vass now because the existing sewer plant is operating almost at full capacity. Without increased capacity, the town is unable to take advantage of growth potential through BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) and other growth opportunities.
The county owns and operates utilities for the municipality.
Housing Re-Hab Grant
The board also voted to apply for a $500,000 Economic Recovery Program grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce for housing rehabilitation for low- to moderate-income families.
No one spoke against during a public hearing conducted before the board voted.
Joey Raczkowski, county planning director, told the board at a Sept. 7 meeting that the grant, if approved, would be used to rehabilitate about eight owner-occupied houses.
"The community development division has already notified over 200 persons previously expressing need for housing rehab and has contacted diverse private nonprofit and government agencies countywide to alert them of the opportunity for low-income homeowners to be considered under this grant," Raczkowski said.
Such community development planning is among the services provided by the county Planning Department.
Raczkowski said the county first applied for this grant in June 2009, but that application was not funded. He was recently notified that funding is now available, but applications are due by Sept. 30.
This one-time offer was initially funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 but is now channeled through the state Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance as a Community Development Block Grant.
In other business Monday, the county commissioners voted unanimously to approve an agreement with HDR Engineering Inc. for engineering services for continued operation and environmental compliance at the landfill. The total is $121,990.
The agreement covers three tasks: permitting for yard waste and compost site; bidding and construction documents for cell 5 of the construction and demolition (C&D) landfill expansion; and provision of contract administration and performance activities to prepare the cell 5 certification report to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Chad Beane, manager of the solid waste division, Department of Public Works, told the board that HDR has helped the county for about 20 years and is thoroughly familiar with landfill operations. HDR has recently helped with expansion of the C&D landfill in submitting the erosion and sediment control plan as well as the closure/post closure plan needed to secure the state permit for the expansion.
Because approval of the agreement does not comply with some contract bidding requirements, the board was asked to adopt a resolution exempting the county from those details of state requirements. This too was given unanimous approval.
The commissioners also agreed to accept Cardiac Science as the sole-source vendor for the purchase of 100 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at a cost of $100,000.
The new equipment will be turned over to law enforcement agencies as added equipment in their vehicles.
Bryan Phillips, public safety director, said acquisition of the AEDs for law enforcement vehicles should reduce the response time in delivering emergency service to heart attack victims.
The county's Emergency Medical Services has partnered with HeartSafe Moore County in promoting the deployment and use of AEDs. Phillips called it a very successful program that now has 240 AEDs recorded within the 911 database.
Payment for the equipment will come from a $100,000 grant, and the county has agreed to a $17,500 in-kind match to cover the salaries and database management associated with managing the project. HeartSafe Moore County has agreed to add $2,500, bringing the total to $120,000.
Beane said HeartSafe received bids from the three largest manufacturers and recommended Cardiac Science as the best choice because of pricing, customer support and overall simplicity of operation.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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