City seeks community infrastructure grants

Mar. 11, 2014 @ 07:16 PM

Alan Gill, longtime director of the Henderson-Vance County Parks and Recreation Department, is retiring.

City Manager Ray Griffin made the announcement that Gill will be leaving his post May 30 at Monday’s city council meeting.

Gill began his work with the city in May 1983 as a park program specialist. He was promoted to assistant parks and recreation director in November 1986 and as director in December 1998.

“During his 31 years’ tenure with the city, Alan has well served the community by providing value-added parks and recreational services,” Griffin said. “He has worked hard to forge partnerships with many groups as a means by which to better serve youth and adults. He was a vital partner to the Aycock Recreation Center project and is credited with helping ensure its success.”

Griffin said he will appoint an interim director and begin a search for a new director.

Council voted, in another matter, to apply for a Community Development Block Grant that would pay for infrastructure improvements.

Historically, the grants have been used for rehabilitating houses and removing blight, city planning director Erris Dunston told council. This round of grants, however, must be used for water and sewer projects while still benefiting low-income families.

City staff identified four areas where funds could be used and estimated the funding level for each:

• The Newton Dairy Road gravity sewer extension project that eliminates a 43-year-old pump station could cost up to $500,000.

• Birch and Bobbitt sewer extensions to replace a failing septic system have an estimated cost of about $400,000.

• Railroad Street water main extension to improve water pressure could run about $300,000.

• The Thomas Lane water main extension to improve water pressure and water quality could cost about $1 million.

Projects at the million-dollar level will likely be more competitive, assistant city manager Frank Frazier told council members. The council directed the city staff to prepare options for the grant application.

The grants are federally funded and administered by the state, and no matching city funds are required, he said.

Council also discussed a request from Vance County commissioners to reestablish an intergovernmental committee. The committee was dissolved in 2010 in favor of the city and county each appointing a representative from their respective boards to act as liaisons.

“We’ve got more positive steps forward” with the liaisons, council member Sara Coffey said. “I was very glad when we changed that.”

Councilman Garry Daeke said the group didn’t make much progress. The city and county each had four representatives.

Because the county didn’t state a reason for the request, council members tabled the matter.

In other business, council:

• Adopted an ordinance raising some trash collection fees and setting a fee for picking up loose leaves after a mid-January deadline.

The new fees increase the cost of an additional trash cart to $4.22, up from $3.87. Extra trash pickups will range from $56.73 for two to $141.83 for five. The new fee schedule is effective April 1. Residents who miss the leaf pickup deadline can avoid the new $75 fee by bagging their leaves. The fee will be charged from mid-January to mid-October.

• Approved the sale for $1,200 of 529 Highland Avenue to recover a portion of the $2,786 in taxes owed to the city and county. Of the total, the city’s share is $1,173.

Contact the writer at news@hendersondispatch.com.