09/05/08 — County OKs first $500K for facilities plan cost

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County OKs first $500K for facilities plan cost

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 5, 2008 1:38 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday appropriated funding for the county schools and for the county's ongoing Community Development Block Grant project in the Cobb Coley Lane area at Dudley.

A $500,000 appropriation for the schools will allow the county Board of Education to proceed with preliminary engineering costs associated with its schools facilities plan.

Meanwhile, school officials are "researching their ability to draw down" on other funding sources, County Manager Lee Smith said.

"This (appropriation) will take care of the next few month," Smith said. "The schools need to be able to have the cash flow for the projects approved."

The money, he said, would be approved on an "as-needed" basis.

"It was easier for us to get started and give them (schools) time to work on getting state funds," Smith said.

Commissioners have agreed to $22 million for school construction projects based on a priority list drafted by the school board.

Of that total, $16.5 million will be financed. A "couple of million dollars" are expected to realized through savings generated by an energy performance audit of the schools. The remainder will be local funding.

Smith said the $16.5 million would be repaid through annual sales tax receipts and lottery funds. No property tax dollars will be used, he said.

To qualify for the $16.5 million in financing, the county schools must have a design, project or bids approved by the Local Government Commission.

The board also awarded a bid of $181,907 to Hardy Construction of New Bern for water and street improvements through the county's CDBG project.

The county is in its second year of the CDBG project in the Cobb Coley Lane area off Durham Lake Road at Dudley.

The project includes housing rehabilitation, street improvements and water and sewer work.

Smith said the areas are comprised of mainly low-to-moderate-income families.

The original grant was for about $700,000, Smith said.

Along with awarding the contract, commissioners took care of some "bookkeeping" work by appropriating $438,746 dollars for the project. Of that total, $398,746 is grant money. The county provided an additional $40,000 in matching funds.