Stanly County approves two grant requests
Published 10:44 am Tuesday, November 16, 2021
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners had two county municipalities make presentations to the board regarding a new matching grant program.
Previously, the commissioners approved a grant program for the county’s 10 municipalities, allowing them to request up to $10,000 from the county for various repairs or improvements. Municipalities must match the grant dollar for dollar.
At Monday’s meeting, the commissioners approved a request from Locust for $10,000 to help with the cost of electrical repairs at Officer Jeff Shelton Park.
Locust City Administrator Cesar Correa made the presentation to the six commissioners in attendance. Commissioner Zach Almond was not present at the meeting and was recused by a unanimous motion. Vice Chairman Tommy Jordan, in making the motion for Almond’s recusal, noted Almond was traveling by plane and unable to call into the meeting.
According to Correa, one of the park’s baseball fields needed a new underground conduit wire from the control cabinet at the field office to two of the light poles, one in left field and the other in right.
The total cost of the project is $27,200, Correa said, adding the town would match the $10,000 for the grant plus the additional $7,200 remaining on the project. Two fields will be affected by the repairs.
Commissioner Scott Efird, who works for the city of Locust, was recused from the discussion and the vote.
During comments on the motion, Commissioner Mike Barbee said he did not want to come across as being negative regarding parks and recreation. However, he said the county has “had a ton of requests. Everyone needs money…we’ve got to fix the jail that’s way over (crowded). There’s a ton of money there…I just think it’s a bad time.”
County Manager Andy Lucas said the board will have to do a budget amendment from the current fiscal year for the project, which according to documents submitted to the county will start January 2022. The money, he added, will have to come from savings.
Lucas said most of the projects the municipalities will want to do are in this fiscal year, not the next, saying if plans are for the 2022-23 fiscal year starting July 1, the towns “really shouldn’t be asking for the money this year. Why would we give them money just to sit in their savings? We’re better off keeping it in our savings and giving them the money when they actually need it, not towards a capital campaign.”
Commissioner Peter Asciutto asked Lucas how long he had been county manager, which Lucas answered by saying 13 years. When Asciutto asked about the budget over those years, Lucas responded saying the county has “always been in good financial standing” since he became manager.
The motion passed 4-1, with Barbee as the lone vote against.
Former Pfeiffer University professor, provost and vice president Dr. Mike Reimann presented a request for $10,000 on behalf of the Misenheimer Village Council.
The request was for money to extend the Falcon Thread Trail, a pedestrian and biking trail, to the southern part of U.S. Highway 52 across the railroad track crossing.
According to the form submitted, Misenheimer will match the grant with $42,009 from its own fund balance, along with a contribution of $5,000 from the Friends of North Stanly Trails and Parks, Inc.
Reimann said the cost could be as much as $65,000 for the extension to go across the road and the tracks. If the trail is on both sides, he added, the state Department of Transportation could then install lights on the crossing.
Barbee asked Reimann what would happen if enough money could not be raised for the project.
“It’s like the other stuff. I found a way to get it, so I assuming I’m going to get the money. I would ask the (Misenheimer) council to come up with more. I’ll come up with something,” Reimann said.
Chairman Bill Lawhon asked if the county would get verification that a municipality has put money into the project equal to the amount requested, which Lucas said they would.
Barbee noted the county is putting the money up for something which he said “very few people will probably ever use. It’s the generosity of the taxpayers to this county if it passes.” He said if the projects were approved for two, it’s likely all 10 municipalities will apply, which would total $100,000. Barbee said that amount would be “a pretty good jab on our property tax.”
Reimann noted citizens from across Stanly and surrounding counties use the trail along with people from outside the county, mentioning Asheville and Charlotte.
The motion passed 5-1 with Barbee voting against it.