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Council to adopt ARPA policies | Govt. and Politics

The city of Morganton is expected to take some steps toward officially deciding how to spend millions of dollars from the federal government to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council members will decide whether to adopt seven policies on non-discrimination, records retention, conflicts of interest, eligible uses, cost principles, property management and program income for funds allotted to the city by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Morganton received more than $4.8 million in ARPA funding, and the policies the council will decide on Monday night are required by the act. Information from the city said the rules were drafted by city attorney Louis Vinay, and modeled after sample policies developed by the UNC School of Government.

The policies must be adopted before the council can commit ARPA funds to any projects.

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Council members also will take some steps toward correcting a notice of violation issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality – Division of Water Infrastructure.

The violation came after the city’s first stormwater audit was finished, and council members had been warned to expect a violation. Information from the city said every other municipality that has been audited has received a violation.

Council members will have before them a resolution supporting the city’s intent to comply with the stormwater permit and program and a contract with Withers-Ravenel worth $86,750 to ensure the city adequately responds to the notice of violation.

That’s not the only water topic on tap for Monday’s meeting.

Council members also will decide whether to approve a contract and work authorization with Wildlands Engineering Inc. for conceptual design plans for the design of Hunting Creek.

The contract, which would be a total of $30,000, would see the engineering firm work with Development by Design to coordinate a plan that maximizes creek restoration potential along with the proposed greenway and trail system through the corridor.

The timeline for this work would be from August through October, so staff can seek funding packages from October through December. That timeline is necessary to meet deadlines to pursue funding during the long session of the North Carolina General Assembly, according to information from the city.

The council also will decide whether to contract with a company for application preparation for funding opportunities for water and sewer infrastructure.

Information from the city said staff has been seeking funding for water and sewer infrastructure projects for a few years. One of the large projects that has already been designed is the rebuild of the water treatment plant’s coagulation and sedimentation basins, a project the city estimates will cost around $4.16 million.

Staff spent the spring working with W.K. Dickson & Co. to apply for funding from ARPA grants, but ultimately the grant was not awarded. The company has told the city it believes the project would receive grant funding in the fall round if the capital improvement plan was extended by five years.

If approved, the city would contract with W.K. Dickson for $1,500 to apply for the grant funding. Information from the city said if grant funding is not awarded, low-interest loan funding would be accepted instead.

Other items up for discussion at Monday night’s meeting include awarding several contracts, purchasing a new firetruck, knuckle boom loader and front loader, and adopting a 10-year capital improvement plan for the water resources department.

The council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Morganton City Hall, with public comment to start the meeting.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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