GARLAND — The town may be eligible to receive funds for the management of water utilities.
During a recent meeting, Chuck Donnell of Envirolink presented the Asset Inventory and Assessment (AIA) grant to the board of commissioners. The program is from the North Carolina Division of Water Infrastructure, which is part of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Its purpose is to increase the use of grant funds to encourage water and wastewater utilities to become more usable and proactive with management and financing.
If approved, Donnell said the process would log assets such as pipes, valves, manholes, water tanks and pumps.
“The primary purpose of that would to further maintain your capital improvement program,” Donnell said to commissioners. “As opposed to previous grant and loan programs, this program is focused on making successful utilities even better.”
A total of $150,000 is available for both the water system and the wastewater system. If granted, Garland could receive up to $300,000. The money can be spent over a period of three years. Donnell said a 5 percent or 10 percent match would be required. The match does not have to be money and could be in kind labor, from the town’s staff.
“It’s depending on some data that we supply to the state in terms of economics and household income,” Donnell said about factors such as population change and poverty rate.
The deadline to apply is not until Sept. 30, 2017. But the amount of work to apply for the grant will takes months, according to Donnell.
“With the amount of information we have to collect and process, it’s probably a good idea to get started early,” he said.
To become involved, commissioners would have to approve a resolution to begin the process, which includes collecting five years worth of data, audits and so forth. Envirolink, which provides water management services to Garland, would assist in the application and information gathering.
Following the presentation, commissioners made a decision to table a decision until October. In the meantime, the board will do more research on the program.
According to a news release from the office of Gov. Pat McCrory, communities throughout North Carolina received $127 million for water projects, during the last round of funding. From that amount, more than $5.12 million went towards AIA projects. Some of the cites and towns that benefited Rocky Mount, Lumberton and Mount Olive.
Since January 2014, more than $695 million were awarded for related projects. Also, more than $300 million will be distributed through the Connect NC bond, an initiative to improve infrastructure throughout the state.
“Reliable infrastructure is crucial to protecting public health, improving quality of life, and providing economic opportunities in all of our communities,” McCrory said. “These projects will enhance water quality and pave the way for economic growth in towns across the state.”