02/25/04 — Fremont board wants grant for sewers

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Fremont board wants grant for sewers

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 25, 2004 1:59 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont is seeking a federal grant to pay off a $772,000 loan for sewer repairs and is hoping to get more money from the state.

The town had applied to U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. for a "state tribal assistance grant."

Tom Barnes, the outgoing town administrator, said the town can reduce its sewer rates if the old loan is paid off.

But Barnes, who is retiring Friday, urged town officials to keep in contact with Jones and his staff and possibly go to Washington.

"You cannot sit back and hope you get the grant because you have submitted the request," Barnes wrote in a memo to the board. "You have to work hard at getting Congressman Jones and his staff to understand how important it is for Fremont to get the grant."

Barnes also said the state had allocated more money for the original sewer project but had withheld it because the project was finished under budget.

"We've maintained that we still have sewer problems and should be allowed to use the money to address those problems," the administrator said.

Barnes and the town's contract engineer, Dr. Mike Acquesta of Raleigh, met with the state-funding agency and did get an additional $254,000 for sewage capacity. But Barnes said the town did not get more money for sewer line repairs or replacement.

Fremont owes Goldsboro $347,000 because it is using more than the 600,000 gallons a day it purchased in the Goldsboro sewer plant. Barnes said Fremont has exceeded the capacity because of excessive amounts of rainwater getting into the pipes. When Fremont exceeds capacity, it must pay a higher rate, $3.39 per gallon.

With possible growth, Barnes believes the town will need another 75,000 gallons per day at a cost of $254,250.

Barnes proposed that Fremont pay $125,000 to Goldsboro from the additional money and use the remainder to replace a 15-inch sewer line and repair two lines on Wayne Street.

Barnes said he, Acquesta and Mayor Jones were to meet today with Sen. John Kerr about getting another leftover $250,000. If the town gets the money, $125,000 would go to Goldsboro and the remainder would be for sewer repairs and service line replacements for homeowners. Another $50,000 would be used for sewer line repairs in Eureka. The remaining $93,000 owed to Goldsboro would be financed.

Barnes said that if the town gets the money and repairs the lines and homeowners' service lines, the problems with rainwater will be whipped.

The board also scheduled a closed meeting at 7 p.m. March 10 to discuss the money owed by Peters and White of Chesapeake, Va. The company constructed the sewer line to Goldsboro but finished it almost a year late. The contract called for a $500-a-day penalty on the $2.1 million project.