ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners on Thursday decided to seek $1.6 million to be used to upgrade the town’s waster water system.
The commissioners voted unanimously during its regular monthly meeting to allow Mayor Jerry Weindel to apply for a $1.2 million loan and $400,000 in grant money. The money would come from the state Department of Environmental Quality and be used to reline existing pipes.
“It allows us to not have to replace the pipes, which would cost twice as much,” Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald said.
Some pipes already have been relined, Steigerwald said. And there was an immediate decrease in the sewer flow where that work was done.
The system work was precipitated by a dramatic increase in sewer flow in the winter of 2015, Steigerwald said.
“And we have no explanation for it,” he said.
Some of the pipes have been in place for 80 years or more.
The town’s sewer flow repeatedly exceeded the state mandated cap of 500,000 gallons a day, and forced action by town leaders to prevent being in violation of the cap. Community Development Block Grant funds, which the town became eligible for once Sanderson Farms was hooked into the system, and Golden LEAF money already have been used to upgrade two pump stations and reline some pipes, primarily in the northern and eastern sections of town.
“These are the areas that the staff thinks are most important to address,” Steigerwald told the commissioners.
The board tabled the adoption of a resolution for the town to pursue funding from the state for the construction of a wastewater collection system because Steigerwald has yet to find a state-approved resolution.
“I couldn’t get one from Raleigh,” the town manager said.
Steigerwald told board members he has filled out the application online but can’t find the resolution that is required to be submitted with the application, which is due April 28.
“I’ve been told I’m not the only person with that problem,” he said.
Steigerwald assured commissioners he will find a resolution and hand deliver it to each of them for their approval, if necessary.
“I’ll draft one myself using a state model if I have to,” he said.
The board voted to address the resolution at its April 24 budget meeting.
Board members also tabled until their next regular meeting an ordinance amendment defining tampering with water meters and imposing a $500 fine for doing so.
“I’m not going to vote for anything unless I have it all in front of me,” Commissioner W. Evans Jackson said.
Language describing the fine was not included in the proposed ordinance presented to the board. Steigerwald said the fine would be inserted into the ordinance and presented at the board’s next regular meeting.
In other business, the board:
— Adopted a resolution declaring April 28 as Arbor Day.
“We are a tree city and have been for many years,” Steigerwald said.
— Adopted a resolution in support of state Senate Bill 343 and House Bill 432, which address the publication of legal advertisements on county and municipal websites.
“It’s better to post it on the website than to publish it in a newspaper no one reads,” Jackson said.
The commissioners did discuss the need to update its website.
— Heard updates on upset bids for a house and lot at 322 E. Chapel St. and a vacant lot at 522 E. Chapel St. Both are properties the town foreclosed on for failure to pay taxes. The latest bid for 322 E. Chapel is $4,500, and $1,800 for 522 E. Chapel.
— Was told the town could expect within 20 business days a check for $58,754.33 to cover the cost of storm debris removal. Of that money, $44,065.75 is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the rest from the state Department of Public Safety.
Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974