Ahoskie seeks grant funding

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 15, 2005

AHOSKIE – As Ahoskie moves forward with its wastewater treatment plant expansion, so does the search for funding for this estimated $13-$15 million project.

At their monthly meeting here Tuesday, town officials were updated of a plan that could possibly send a $750,000 check to Ahoskie to use for the much-needed expansion.

During a Nov. 18 workshop with the town’s engineering firm, the Wooten Company, a suggestion was made for Ahoskie officials to apply for a DCA (Department of Community Assistance) Infrastructure grant.

According to Steve Player of the Wooten Company, this grant is only available for 21st Century designated communities. Hertford County and its municipalities are deemed such communities.

“From what we’ve learned up until this stage, it would be easier for us to apply for the grant rather than having to go through Hertford County,” Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said.

Player, in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, agreed, saying wastewater expansion is a worthy project. He urged Ahoskie officials to apply for the grant.

“You have many challenges facing you as you move forward with your wastewater expansion project,” Player said. “This grant funding, if approved, will help with the improvements at your treatment facility.”

The grant is fully funded, meaning the town does not have to supply any sort of matching funds.

In one regard, Player noted that the town meets CDBG (Community Block Development Grant) criteria by having at least 51 percent of low-to-moderate income families residing within the town being affected by improvements to the wastewater plant.

However, that criteria also requires documentation to prove that low-to-moderate income families or individuals living outside the town limits will also benefit from the project.

Since Ahoskie’s water/sewer service is limited beyond the town’s corporate limits, Player looked for another avenue to satisfy that requirement.

The answer may come at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, a water/sewer customer of Ahoskie.

“With the college, we must develop a supportable methodology for documenting the benefit derived from the CDBG funds,” Player explained. “This task will be a bit challenging, but with the help of the college’s staff, we hope to satisfy this requirement.”

While awaiting the outcome of that effort, Player said the town was progressing adequately as they move towards making an application for the DCA grant.

“You have advertised and are holding today the first of two required public hearings on this matter,” Player said. “Also required is a two-page proposal written to the DCA. Mr. Hammond has already submitted that proposal, one that the DCA staff was very impressed with.”

No public comments were heard during Tuesday’s hearing, after which Player encouraged Ahoskie officials to continue to move forward with the grant application process.