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State Water Infrastructure Authority Approves Emergency Funding for Eureka

Raleigh

The State Water Infrastructure Authority approved $200,000 in emergency funding for the town of Eureka at its emergency meeting held via conference call today.

The vote was conducted in response to Senate Bill 691, Emergency Operating Funds for Utilities, signed yesterday by Governor Roy Cooper. The bill enables DEQ to make funds available for emergency operations at local government units that have been taken over by the Local Government Commission and do not have enough revenue to pay operating expenses.

Eureka’s expenses exceed revenue, which has created a significant shortfall.  The town already has high sewer rates and cannot raise rates to generate more revenue. 

The Local Government Commission states on its Eureka-related web page that “under North Carolina Session Law 2019-29, the Local Government Commission has suspended the charter of the Town of Eureka and has placed all monies and assets of the town under the control of the State Treasurer.”

The authority decided to hold an emergency meeting to consider this issue and today approved this action in order to allow Division of Water Infrastructure staff to start the funding award process, prepare the award, review the first pay request, and process payment in early October.

While this action provides emergency funding for Eureka, there are many other North Carolina communities that are struggling with paying for the costs of maintaining water infrastructure and providing vital water services.

The Division of Water Infrastructure and the State Water Infrastructure Authority continue to seek long-term solutions for water utilities facing financial challenges. The authority’s Statewide Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Master Plan provides a guide toward the goal of establishing viable utilities.

DEQ is continuing to work with state leaders to proactively establish viable utilities statewide through improved organizational structure and financial stability, paving the way for continued environmental and health protection, increased capacity for economic development, and utility resiliency for the future.

The authority is an independent body with primary responsibility for awarding federal and state funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Other responsibilities include recommending ways to maximize the use of available loan and grant funding resources and examining best and emerging practices.

To learn more about the State Water Infrastructure Authority:  https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-infrastructure/state-water-infrastructure-authority

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