State Water Infrastructure Authority to meet Jan. 13-14 in Raleigh for first time

Raleigh

RALEIGH – A state water authority meets for the first time next week to begin its work of awarding federal grants for wastewater, drinking water and stormwater projects.

The State Water Infrastructure Authority will meet Jan. 13-14 at the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, 4021 Carya Drive, Raleigh. The authority will convene at 9 a.m. both days.

This meeting marks the first time the group has convened since the North Carolina General Assembly created the authority and the N.C. Division of Water Infrastructure as part of the state’s 2013-14 budget.

The division, which is part of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, manages the use of federal funds from three sources: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; Drinking Water State Revolving Fund; and community development block grants for infrastructure. In addition, the division manages the state-funded drinking water reserve and wastewater reserve funds. All of the federal funding mechanisms for water infrastructure projects existed prior to this legislative session’s changes, but the General Assembly created the division as part of the state budget bill and placed the three funding sources in that division.

Among its responsibilities, the State Water Infrastructure Authority will review the recommendations for grants and loans submitted to it by the Division of Water Infrastructure and select the applications eligible to receive grants and loans. The authority will establish priorities, criteria and guidelines for awarding loans and grants, and will develop a master plan to meet the state’s water infrastructure needs. Applicants for such funds will include towns, cities, counties and other groups.

The Jan. 13 meeting will begin with an introduction of the authority’s members and a review of the organization’s responsibilities. The members of the authority are: Kim Colson, acting director of the N.C. Division of Water Infrastructure; Pat Mitchell, assistant secretary in the N.C. Department of Commerce; Vance Holloman, secretary of the Local Government Commission; J. D. Solomon, vice president of CH2MHill; Gwen Baker with CDM-Smith; Leila Goodwin, Cary’s Water Resources manager; Charles Vines, Mitchell County’s manager; Cal Stiles, Cherokee County Commissioner and Maria Hunnicutt, manager of the Broad River Water Authority.

During the meeting, staff with the N.C. Division of Water Infrastructure plan to provide authority members with an overview of the primary activities of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the community development block grants for infrastructure. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund will be discussed in more detail and will include an overview of the fund’s application, review and prioritization process. During Tuesday’s meeting, the authority might consider approving priorities for the September 2013 Clean Water State Revolving Fund application round.

The authority will also discuss its future tasks, including reviewing community development block grants for infrastructure priorities. The agenda for the two-day meeting is on the Division of Water Infrastructure’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wi/ .

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