09/22/04 — Fremont nears end of revitalization

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Fremont nears end of revitalization

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on September 22, 2004 1:58 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont has almost completed one program to replace substandard homes and hopes to start another.

David Harris, the program administrator from R.S.M. Harris and Associates of Goldsboro, said at Tuesday's town board meeting that the project will be finished with driveway improvements at the last home.

Three homes were replaced in Fremont and one in Mount Olive.

"I've seen the homes and been in two," said Mayor Devone Jones, "and they are real nice. They look good."

Harris said he had hoped to repair six or seven homes with the $400,000 community development block grant, but because the four houses were so dilapidated, no others could be repaired.

Fremont administered the project, Harris explained, because Wayne County was repairing homes damaged in Hurricane Floyd at the same time.

But Fremont may not get any money for a project next year, because Harris said funds will be cut by more than 75 percent. Instead of $15 million, the state will have only $3.5 million to distribute to 41 eastern counties. The top amount for any project will be $700,000.

Only areas with the most severe housing, water, sewer, street and drainage problems and with the greatest concentration of poor people will be considered, Harris said. Those areas could be a dead-end street with as few as five or six houses.

The board asked Harris to find out if Fremont would qualify. He will return Oct. 19 with a proposal.

Mapping grant

The board will apply for a $40,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Center to pay for mapping water and sewer lines. The town's contract engineer, Dr. Mike Acquesta from the Raleigh firm of Pierson and Whitman, said every water and sewer line, manhole, hydrant, valve and water meter would be included. The town would have to pay a $4,500 match in July.

The finished map would be installed in the town's computer. Acquesta said it would be very useful for future infrastructure improvements and it would be compatible with the county's geographical information system.

Dollar values also could be assigned on the map to the town's water and sewer systems. Acquesta also said towns will be required by law to depreciate their infrastructure.

The town board also agreed to extend its engineering contract so that it can recoup money from the state. A total of $15,290 will go to Pierson and Whitman and $54,764 will go to Peters and White, the Virginia firm that built the sewer line to Goldsboro.

The town board also met in closed session with its lawyer to discuss the Peters and White contract. Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said the issue was a long way from being resolved. The company was penalized for finishing the $2.1 million project in June 2003, almost a year late.


New sidewalks for the first block of East Main Street were a part of the $431,000 Town Hall renovation project that was funded by grants, loans and a small town match. But McDuffie admitted the sidewalks have been delayed.

To get the project moving, Mayor Jones appointed Aldermen Leroy Ruffin and W.T. Smith to a committee to investigate.

New underground wiring and new street lamps also are planned for the same block. Town Hall was reopened in January.

Other business

In other business, the board:

*Approved a refund of $2,800 to the Rev. H. Powell Dew for four plots in the new section of the town cemetery because he was given four plots in the old section.

*Adopted a resolution to release capital outlay funds for other purposes.

*Approved the sale of 42 items of surplus property, including a pickup truck and a fire truck, at 10 a.m. Nov. 6 at the Public Works Building. Land at the old well site was removed from the list.

*Scheduled a workshop for Nov. 13 to discuss the town's future.

*Tabled a request by McDuffie to take compensatory time instead of salary for a month and a half.

*Took no action on complaints from citizens about drainage and high utility bills.