Surry left off first round of stimulus awards

First Posted: 4/26/2009

A list of wastewater and stormwater projects designated for funding from a first-round distribution of federal stimulus money includes none from Surry County.
The city of Mount Airy had applied for funds to help expand sewer lines at Piedmont Triad West Industrial Park, which carries a price tag of nearly $500,000. This expansion is viewed as needed to attract new prospects to the park.
However, that project was not among a list of successful applicants released Saturday by the office of Gov. Bev. Perdue, nor were any others from Surry municipalities or the county government. Money for such infrastructure improvements in North Carolina is being distributed through the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
They evidently didnt rank high enough, Mount Airy Public Services Director Jeff Boyles said Sunday of the local projects vying for stimulus funding.
However, Boyles is hoping the seeking of funding for the improvements at the industrial park will be more successful when the state makes decisions on a second round of stimulus projects. Those have a June 3 application deadline.
Along with the sewer expansion at Piedmont Triad West Industrial Park, money also will be sought to rehabilitate aging sewer lines at various locations in Mount Airy which have malfunctioned with regularity in recent months. That work would cost around $425,000.
One drawback with receiving the stimulus funding involved for such work is that half would be supplied in the form of a grant and the other 50 percent a zero-interest loan. Therefore, a successful grant application could subject Mount Airy to further indebtedness, already an issue stemming from past water-sewer infrastructure improvements.
Initially, Mount Airy officials were hoping to submit both projects for consideration in the first round of stimulus funding, but only the one involving the industrial park was actually applied for, Boyles said. We had it ready to go, he explained.
Dobson, Pilot Mountain, Elkin and the county government also identified various wastewater projects earlier this year for which they hoped to receive assistance through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The successful projects announced by the governors office Saturday for the first-round distribution total $46 million awarded to 36 communities in 30 of the states counties for wastewater and stormwater projects.
North Carolinas Division of Water Quality Construction Grants and Loans Section, which is administering the wastewater and stormwater recovery funds, received a federal capitalization grant of $70.7 million on April 3.
For the second round of funding, the state is seeking quality green project applications in addition to other qualifying wastewater and stormwater improvements.
The stimulus money is aimed at enhancing public health and the environment along with boosting the economies in communities chosen for funding.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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