RED SPRINGS — Red Springs officials announced Tuesday that that the town has been awarded $7 million in federal money to build a new water treatment plant.
In another money matter, the Board of Commissioners members tabled discussion of a study that was conducted in order to establish a pay increase for commissioners and the mayor. They did briefly discuss pay scales in similar-sized towns in Robeson County and the state.
The money for the water treatment plant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the form of a $4.8 million grant and a $2.2 million loan with a 2.75 percent interest. This money will be added to the $20,000 in matching funds the town already has paid.
“This was a matching contribution, spent on engineering,” David Ashburn said. “They got the layout together, and put together the application for the grant.”
Ashburn called it an “amazing” grant because it will help build a water treatment plant and repair and/or replace and water lines.
“We have some very old pipes here,” Ashburn said. “We have 40 percent leakage in some places. We can’t find most of it.”
When installed, the new lines will reduce costs and relieve some of the burden on the town’s water system, he said. The current system leaks fresh water into the treatment lines, which means it must be treated again, thus increasing costs.
“The purity of the water will be cleaner than bottled water,” Ashburn said of the water that will come from the new plant.
The town is pursuing a $2 million Community Development Block Grant to repair sewer lines, Ashburn said.
“The grant application is due by Sept. 1,” he said. “It will be the beginning of next year before we know.”
Pay raises for the mayor and commissioners were discussed, and the study was to be reviewed by Ashburn. After Ashburn told the commissioners of the average pay rates for elected officials in towns of similar size in Robeson County, Mayor Edward Henderson recommended that board members take the information home for review. The average rate of pay for the mayor in communities of similar size was $4,852. The mayor pro-tem average was $3,735, and $3,615 for a commissioner. Some municipalities did not report their pay rates, and two in the state reported that they pay their officials nothing.
The Red Springs pay scale is to be discussed at the next town meeting.
The commissioners approved paying Thompson, Price, Adams and Co., of Whiteville, $14,812.50 to conduct Red Springs’ 2017-2018 audit.
In other business, the commissioners:
— Transferred a utility easement right of way on a 20-by-160-foot strip of land between two parcels of land to David Shook. The town had no plans for the land. Shook wants to make improvements on the land.
— Approved budget amendments to correct payment errors to town employees. Deductions from their pay had been figured incorrectly, creating a potential problem in the upcoming audit.