Mount Olive Town Manager Jammie Royall said he has high hopes of getting approval of the town’s application for a $15 million grant from the American Rescue Fund.
“We just got word that we have been approved for two grants totaling $1.1 million, and that was a big surprise to all of us and much earlier than we had expected,” said Royall.
Those funds will be used for drainage work on South Center Street and downtown revitalization long-range plans.
He said the application for the $15 million grant was submitted in early May.
“The way things are going right now it would not surprise me if we hear something on the big grant at any time,” Royall said.
The town’s deteriorating infrastructure and ailing wastewater treatment plant are key projects pending an approved grant.
This would be a tremendous boost to the town’s hopes of getting the moratorium at the wastewater treatment plant lifted, he said. The town has been unable to add new sewer taps and customers to its ailing sewer system since it was placed under the moratorium in 2015.
Even if the moratorium is not totally lifted, he said, it would help if state authorities would allow an additional 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of flow per day to open the door to new developments.
The majority of the grant money, if approved, will be used for inflow and infiltration rehab throughout town.
A small portion of it would go to the second phase of current repair construction at the treatment plant.
“If we do get the $15 million grant and it is all contracted out it may not get the moratorium lifted, but will probably get the state to allow us some additional flow,” Royall said.
That would allow construction of new homes and new businesses, which would increase the town’s tax base.
He said normal daily sewer use for a new business is 40 gallons per day per seat, and about 80 gallons per day for a normal household.
“I think if we can get the state to allow us additional flow it will get us moving forward. We have done a tremendous amount of work already, but it has been so dry for the last couple of years we are not sure what the impact really is on the wastewater treatment plant,” Royall explained.