State funds helps M’boro improve its infrastructure

Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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MURFREESBORO – Murfreesboro officials recently received a letter confirming their infrastructure funding allocation from the state budget.

Town Administrator Carolyn Brown shared the Letter of Intent to Fund with the town council at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb 20.

As previously reported by the News Herald, the state budget, which was approved last year, including funding allocations earmarked for infrastructure projects across the state. Murfreesboro was given over $4 million in funding.

The town’s “wishlist” of infrastructure needs included replacing a portion of the water lines on Main Street and Third Street, replacing water meters, and some additional sewer rehabilitation. Many of these projects will rectify problems that have occurred due to the age of the town’s infrastructure.

But when prioritizing the needs, the town also realized that they needed to use some of the allocated funds for the Carver Park lift station replacement project. Murfreesboro is already using funds from the NC Clean Water State Revolving Fund for that project, but there is also a cost overrun of $468,737.

Without the state funding, the town would have to use their own limited funds to cover the costs.

According to the letter that Brown presented at February’s meeting, the state appropriations have been approved to fund $468,737 for the Carver Park lift station overrun, $1,237,500 for the Main Street and Third Street water line replacement, and $1,300,000 for water meter replacement. That still leaves them with $1,164,763 to use for other infrastructure projects in the future.

The letter also stated that the deadline for the bid-and-design package would be April 1, 2025.

There was no vote needed from the council.

Earlier in the meeting, the need for the new water meters – one of the upcoming infrastructure projects – was mentioned while discussing an ongoing problem with meter tampering, particularly with people who turn their water back on after it has been shut off.

New meters won’t help with the tampering problem, but Mayor Hal Thomas noted that they would help with making the readings more accurate, and they could potentially help make it easier to figure out when the tampering occurs.

Last year, in January 2023, the council approved an increased fee as a deterrence. At that meeting, they raised the fee from $25 to $50 per day.

Council member Mike Bunch, who began his term after the previous changes to the ordinance, suggested implementing an initial $100 fee for the first day of tampering and then $50 per day for each day afterwards.

Town Attorney Cecelia Jones said she would draft the revisions to the ordinance and bring it before the council at their meeting in March.