02/03/04 — Princeton gets sewer money

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Princeton gets sewer money

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 3, 2004 2:03 PM

PRINCETON -- The town of Princeton, which has been fined numerous times because of sewage spills and other problems, accepted an offer of almost $1.6 million Monday night in federal money for sewer plant construction and sewer line repair.

The $1,589,000 offer includes $1,197,000 in grants from the U.S. Agriculture Department's Rural Develop-ment Administration and a $392,000 loan. The loan will be repaid at 4.5 percent interest over 40 years.

This money was in addition to an earlier $400,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Center for repairing sewer lines. The town also will contribute a $74,000 match.

Mayor Don Rains said the town will meet the conditions of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission and the Division of Water Quality and avoid future fines with the $2.06 million project.

"We're putting an investment in the town for our future," Rains said.

The mayor said the town has had inflow and infiltration problems in its sewer plant and sewer lines for several years.

"We complained that we didn't have the resources" to make the repairs "and shouldn't have to pay the fines," Rains said. "We also had water and sewer rates that many felt were too high. We have to fix our problems, rather than complain about them."

"It's good to see a small rural community, like Princeton, taking steps to help secure its future," said Jackie McLamb, the district manager for the Rural Development Administration.

Rains said the state had given Princeton three years to repair the system. He said C.T. Clayton Sr., the town's contract engineer from New Bern; Marla Ashworth, the town clerk, and Skip Green, a hired grant writer, had put together a plan that started with the Rural Center's grant.

Clayton drew praise from two sources for his work. Rains called him a lifesaver for the town, and McLamb lauded Clayton for his professionalism.

Portland Utilities of Portland, Tenn., which had submitted the low bid for the first round of repairs, also was awarded the contract for the second phase. The winning bid was $358,915 for the second phase after a $342,280 bid on the first phase.