BLADENBORO — Two state grants hold the key for the future of Bladenboro’s drinking water system and wastewater system, according to a representative from the Lumber River Council of Governments.
Jan Hester-Maynor told town councilmen on Monday that applications were ready to be turned in for two grants totaling about $87,000 — $43,950 for the drinking water portion and $42,200 for the wastewater portion.
“Your responsibility would be just 5 percent of those, which would be about $2,195 (drinking water grant) and $2,100 (wastewater grant),” she said. “That’s a pretty great deal.”
According to Hester-Maynor, the town is losing a good amount of water.
“You are pumping more water that you are getting paid for because of an aging infrastructure,” she said. “This causes your financial stability to be called into question.”
She added the grant would help with replacing the aging pipes, as well as include a leak detection system.
The wastewater grant would assist with repairing and replacing an infrastructure that has similar problems as the drinking water system.
“You not only have an aging infrastructure, but also a problem with rain water,” Hester-Maynor said. “But if, for some reason, you don’t get funded, we can find ways to cut back on the cost to you and still make the necessary improvements.
“Don’t feel like you are alone in this,” she added. “We are seeing these same problems in towns throughout the area.”
The council voted unanimously to move forward with the grant applications.
Hester-Maynor told the council the grants are expected to be awarded sometime in July.
In other business, the board:
— Approved renting the Depot train station to Christine Jayne at $200 a month for a new nail salon. The town will cover the cost to install a new hot water heater and necessary plumbing, while Jayne will replace the carpeting with a non-porous flooring as well as put in an addition heat source at her own cost.
— Heard a portion of the proposed 2016-17 town budget that calls for no tax increase; decreases garbage rates from $13 to $11 per month; would increase the water rate by 2 percent; and give a 1-percent salary increase to town employees. The council voted to hold a budget workshop on Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.
— Applauded Police Chief Chris Hunt after his department was given a 1A rating following a state audit.
— Transferred the human resource duties from the mayor to the town administrator during a closed session.
The next regular meeting of the Bladenboro Town Council will be June 13 at 7 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.