Breaking down barriers

Published 10:32 am Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WINDSOR – Bertie County will join with two other groups to seek a grant to help clean debris from streams throughout the county.

Monday morning, the Bertie County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution seeking a grant of nearly $50,000 to help pay for a project that will cost $93,895.

David Hodges of Mid East RC&D and Vic Thompson of Bertie Soil and Water appeared before the board seeking authorization to apply for the grant from the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.

“Hurricane Irene left a lot of debris that needs to be removed from the streams in the county,” Hodges said. “It seems like you have been a magnet for storms.”

He said the grant would allow the commissioners to get a match from the Division of Water Resources. The group will match the grant, if approved, at 50 percent. That means the county would pay roughly $47,000 for the removal and the grant would pay for the rest.

Hodges said the county already committed $17,000 from the Division of Soil and Water for one creek, but five miles of creeks still needed to be done.

“The bottom line is if the grant is approved, they pay half and we pay half, is that right,” Commissioner Rick Harrell asked.

Hodges said that was indeed the case.

The board members said they agreed the work needed to be done.

“What if the grant is approved and we can’t match it at that time,” Commission Vice Chairman J. Wallace Perry asked.

Hodges said the county was not committing the money now, but would only after the grant award was received.

“You’re basically getting $100,000 worth of work for what you’re putting in,” he said.

The resolution said the county wished to sponsor the Bertie County Storm Debris Clearing and Snagging Project. It said nearly 30,000 linear feet of streams and Bertie County watersheds would be cleared of fallen woody debris.

The project will provide improved flood protection for approximately 100 private residences, four churches, two small businesses, numerous parcel of personal property and more than 1,000 acres of farmland, according to the resolution.

Following the discussion, Harrell made the motion to approve the grant with Perry offering a second. It was passed without objection.