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Remaining coronavirus funds must be spent

Janet Imrick

Randolph Hub


The Randolph County Board of Commissioners approved to spend American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds  to improve water and sewer services and emergency services.


The ARPA funding must be encumbered by Dec. 31 or the county will lose the money. William Johnson, the assistant county manager, presented three projects to the commissioners, who approved the funding for all of them during their February 5 meeting.


"We don't get ARPA anymore. This is all we're going to get, and we want to spend it wisely," Chairman Darrell Frye said.


All municipalities were asked to submit project proposals in 2022 for the Randolph County Water & Sewer Master Plan, and staff drew up a list based on need.


"These projects really have been needed for a long time,” Commissioner Maxton McDowell said. “They haven't just come up, and the money hasn't just come up. It's time to do it and do it right."


Project Priorities

The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by Congress in March 2021. It authorized $350 billion for state and local governments to invest in economic recovery and infrastructure upgrades during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Commissioners approved funding for the two water and sewer projects given the highest priority:


— $1.5 million for the Ramseur Main Pumpstation, Force Main and Tube Pumpstation Replacement Project.

— $2 million for the Franklinville Water and Sewer Improvements Capital Project.


For Ramseur, a $259,400 contract was awarded to the Wooten Company for a design survey and final design. For Franklinville, commissioners awarded a $298,000 contract to LKC Engineering to design a new duplex submersible pump station outside the flood plain and a new force main.


Another $1 million in ARPA funding will go to the Randolph County Department of Emergency Services. Emergency Services Chief Donovan Davis said they need to replace their public safety radio paging system. He said the funds will also pay for a consultant to identify areas in the county that have poor coverage.


More infrastructure updates

The Feb. 5 agenda included projects using other county funds.


— $200,000, to be matched by NC Parks, to finish additions to the town of Liberty's Freedom Park, from the Well-Being Reserve.

— $20,000 to create the Liberty Water and Sewer Improvements Capital Project Fund, from the Rural Water Contingency.

— $25,572 for the Northgate Capital Project Fund to cover a $169,000 adjusted bid by Garanco, Inc., from the General Fund

— $650,000 for the Technology Capital Project Fund, from the General Fund


Liberty Town Manager Scott Kidd said they will use the funds to build an amphitheater shell and a splash pad at Freedom Park. They said there is a demand for recreation, and they want to account for the expected growth from the Wolfspeed and Toyota projects.


Garanco, Inc. will renovate the Northgate Commons facility for the Invictus Project, a multi-agency collaboration led by the Randolph County Sheriff's Office to try and prevent human trafficking and child exploitation.


The Technology Capital Project Fund will be used to upgrade nearly 70 secured doors and replace the data center's core network switches. Information Technology Director RJ Williamson said, "The system we have is 20 years old. We're having a lot of problems on a daily business. It's hard to find parts, and the software's non-existent."


Water and sewer district activated

Following the commissioners meeting, they reconvened to discuss the activation of the Eastern Randolph County Water and Sewer District.


The by-laws, presented by Associate County Attorney Aimee Scotton, will set their meeting to follow the same schedule and rules of procedure as commissioners' general meetings. It will create an advisory board made up of representatives from the municipalities within the district. The Board of Commissioners will be the governing body, in line with state law. Commissioners voted to adopt the by-laws.


The district was created in 2008 but left inactive. The county has decided to activate it in anticipation of growth in the area.