FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Board of Commissioners cleared the way on Tuesday to accept a $150,000 N.C. Department of Environmental Quality grant for water and sewer infrastructure work.
“The town must demonstrate the ability to match this grant with $7,500 in-kind and cash contribution,” Town Manager Katrina Tatum said.
During their regular meeting, the commissioners also learned the town is nearing completion of a water and sewer repair and replacement project. Once it is completed, the town can submit bills to the state and receive up to $1.2 million in a Community Development Block Grant to recoup the project’s cost. The town has spent $908,316.19 on the project.
The project is designed to prevent ground water from getting into sewer lines. Some manhole work and repaving are the last steps of the project.
June 19 was the original project completion date. The town has received approval from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality for an extension to Nov. 30.
“We’ll be testing the system, making certain that everything is working correctly,” Tatum said. “Then we’ll see what money is left.”
The commissioners also approved a bid of $107,850 from Frank Horne Construction, of Fair Bluff, to improve drainage at a local cemetery. Work is expected to begin in late May or early June.
Payouts to the people who lost their jobs when a fire destroyed The Meat Store, True Value Hardware and Dollar Tree on April 20 will be made Wednesday after the donations are collected from the town’s Water Department, Commissioner Charles Kemp said. The McDonald’s restaurant in Fairmont set up a donation box for these employees, and donated 40 percent of one day’s sales to the cause. Each person who was left unemployed by the fire is expected to receive $250.
David Richardson, of the Lumber River Council of Governments, gave a presentation on North Carolina Tomorrow, whose goals are to build on each region’s competitive advantages, establish and maintain a robust regional infrastructure, create revitalized healthy, secure and resilient communities, and to develop talented and innovative people.
Richardson also spoke about the importance of the census to funding for the state.
“The census count values each person at about $1,600 a year for a 10-year period, and people who aren’t counted create lost dollars for the community,” Richardson said. “We need to work now to create healthy service commissions, and create a liaison with the census to support the efforts. We need to hire people who are local.”
Tatum suggested putting a notice on water bills in the community.
“It can be dangerous to census takers, but (residents) must cooperate,” she said. “We can get the police or sheriff to help.”
In other business, the commissioners:
— Learned Robeson County is assisting with reducing the beaver population in the area. The town had paid $60 per harvested animal before the county contracted to send out personnel to break up dams and reduce the population.
— Were told the town is preparing foreclosure notices on properties for which no taxes were paid from 2002 to 2012. The town collected its own taxes in this period.
The county began collecting taxes after 2012 and is working with town Attorney Robert Price about how to proceed on taxes from 2013 forward.
— Appointed Fitzhugh Sealey to the Planning Board.
— Approved the town’s water supply plan, an annual document required by the state to show how water is used in the community.
— Held a moment of silence to honor former town Commissioners Mary Bruce Grantham and Patrick (Pat) R. Floyd III, both of whom died Monday. Floyd was on the board from 1964 to 1991, a stint of 27 years, and Grantham from 1999 to 2007. Both served as mayor pro tem for a period.
Reach David Bradley at 910 416 5182 or [email protected]