State grants critical to city’s needs

Program provides infrastructure
Dec. 27, 2012 @ 11:04 AM

Thomasville City Council approved a resolution to support a key source of state funding municipalities use to address infrastructure improvements.
Council’s unanimous vote at the Dec. 17 meeting was in favor of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, an agency that awards annual grants statewide for wastewater and sewer projects. State funding has dropped drastically in recent years causing concerns that vital infrastructure needs will not be addressed.
“We just think this program is extremely important to the state of North Carolina,” said City Manager Kelly Craver. “The environment can be improved by making sure we have improved water and sewer infrastructure.”
Thomasville is using a $545.000 grant to help pay for its rehabilitation project at the East Davidson Pump Station. Funding to the program is down 78 percent since 2002 despite the growing need for similar projects statewide.
“The legislators down in Raleigh have a yeoman’s task in front of them with a lot of issues monetarily at the state level,” Craver said. “But we don’t want them to forget that this is a vital program for the state.”
In the three decades since Clean Water Management Trust Fund grants became available, funding for hundreds of infrastructure projects have been made available. Craver said between 10 and 15 grants are awarded every year.
“That’s a lot of cities that get help,” said Craver. “It certainly is [a valuable resource]. Our water and sewer infrastructure statewide is in need of improvement. No matter what city or county you’re in, there are significant needs. This is just another tool that cities can use to get its infrastructure upgraded.”
The East Davidson Pump Station is the city’s first time using the fund, Craver said, but only because recent projects have been more costly than the program affords.
“Our sewer projects for the Fair Grove and the Pilot area were much larger in scope than projects they fund,” Craver said. “We’ve applied maybe three of four times.”
Twelve wastewater infrastructure projects received funding this year for a total of more than $3.7 million. Trustees issued more than $11 million to fund projects "that protect and improve water quality all across North Carolina," according to CWMTF.net.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.