Local Government Commission to Vote on Grant Applications for Struggling Units | Beaufort County Now | Additional Seven Counties, 15 Towns Could be Designated as Distressed

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Press Release:

    (Raleigh, N.C.)     Six local government units under the financial control of the Local Government Commission (LGC) due to fiscal and governance problems could receive grant assistance to help correct water and sewer deficiencies impacting their jurisdictions.

    The LGC will vote at a special meeting today to commit the towns of Eureka (Wayne County), Kingstown (Cleveland County), Robersonville (Martin County) and Spring Lake (Cumberland County), and the Cliffside Sanitary District (Rutherford County) to completing statutory requirements for units designated as distressed under Viable Utility Reserve (VUR) legislation. The LGC adopted a similar resolution for Pikeville (Wayne County) previously.

    That LGC also will vote to authorize Eureka, Kingstown, Robersonville, Pikeville and the Cliffside Sanitary District to apply for project grant money from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) through the Viable Utility Reserve fund.

    The meeting agenda also includes resolutions to designate an additional seven counties, 15 towns and one sanitary district as distressed local government units under Viable Utility Reserve legislation. The action falls under Session Law 2020-79 that went into effect in 2020. The legislation created a Viable Utility Reserve fund to improve and sustain water and wastewater systems, and required the LGC and State Water Infrastructure Authority (SWIA) to identify distressed units.

    The LGC, chaired by State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, and staffed by the Department of State Treasurer (DST), has a statutory duty to monitor the financial well-being of more than 1,100 local government units. Among other responsibilities, the commission examines whether the amount of money that units borrow is adequate and reasonable for proposed projects, and confirms the governmental units can reasonably afford to repay the debt.

    Under the proposed resolutions, Eureka, Kingstown, Robersonville, Spring Lake and the Cliffside Sanitary District would complete actions required under statute that include conducting an asset assessment and rate study, and participating in a training and educational program. They also would be required to develop short-term and long-term action plans for infrastructure repair, maintenance and management; continuing education of the governing board and system operating staff; and long-term financial management. As distressed units, they may apply for VUR funding to help pay for construction needs identified in their short- and long-term action plans.

    LGC staff is recommending that seven counties and five municipalities be designated as distressed units because they have exceeded thresholds for scores adopted by the LGC and SWIA to assess the infrastructure, organizational and financial components of drinking or wastewater systems for two consecutive years. They are Beaufort, Carteret, Edgecombe, Gates, Nash, Stanly and Vance counties, and Edenton (Chowan County), Granite Falls (Caldwell County), Madison (Rockingham County), Rutherfordton (Rutherford County), and Stovall (Granville County).

    As of March 1, 10 other towns and one sanitary district have not submitted a required annual audit for two consecutive years. As a result, LGC staff is recommending they be added to the distressed list. They are Belmont (Gaston County), Black Creek (Wilson County), Chimney Rock (Rutherford County), Green Level (Alamance County), Jackson (Northampton County), Lucama (Wilson County), Micro (Johnston County), Newport (Carteret County), Ramseur (Randolph County), Roxboro (Person County) and the Swan Quarter Sanitary District (Hyde County).

   Email: press@nctreasurer.com
   Phone: (919) 814-3820
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