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Clarksville eyes use for CARES funds / July 29, 2020

The Town of Clarksville will receive $102,776 in CARES Act relief funds from Mecklenburg County to offset expenses incurred by the town due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Town Manager Jeff Manager said the money is part of the $2.6 million that Mecklenburg County has received from the federal government to offset the impact of the health crisis on local communities.

The money cannot be used as a revenue replacement for lower than expected collections from taxes, fees, or other revenue sources. All funds must be spent before Dec. 30.

Other limitations on the use of the money include:

Expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30.

The expenses were not accounted for in local government budgets approved as of March 27, the date of enactment of the $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act.

Jones said the money could be used to cover the cost of the plexiglass shields installed in Town Hall at the customer service counter, or for personal protective equipment purchased for town employees. He told members of Town Council during their monthly meeting on Tuesday that “staff would be constructing a plan for the best use of the Clarksville portion of the funds and bringing recommendations to them for review and approval.”

In other business,

» Town Council approved a new 25-year lease with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the property that serves as the Clarksville Marina.

For many years, Jones said, the Town had a lease with the Corps for the marina property at the end of Fourth Street. The current lease with the Corps expires Dec. 31. The Town of Clarksville also has a lease with David and Beth Diamond, who operate the marina. That lease will expire on March 31.

“With a new long-term lease, the Town will be in a better position to bid out the sublease for the marina for a long-term agreement,” Jones explained. Clarksville also will be in a better position to move forward with plans to improve the parking facilities and the marina office building and restroom facilities.

“After 40-plus years, the site will be compliant with the required number of restrooms for a facility of that size,” Jones told Council members.

The current plan calls for the construction of the new facilities in 2022.

» The Town has applied for and received $30,000 Search grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Fund. The money is being used to develop a preliminary engineering and environmental report to evaluate alternatives to resolve intermittent issues with the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

After completing the study, Dewberry Engineers has recommended the Town add a biological reactor to the sewer plant to treat wastewater, and also upgrade the carbon feeding room at the water plant. Scott Erhardt, project manager with Dewberry Engineers, estimated the cost of both upgrades at $2.8 million.

Jones asked Council members to allow staff to work with Southside Planning District Commission to pursue funds for the project through Rural Development grants and loans. He also asked that staff be authorized to work on a plan to develop interim funding for the design and engineering portion of the project. He estimated the design phase could cost about $231,000.

Council members approved the request without opposition.

» Council referred a dispute involving residents living on Old Caroline Street to the Streets and Sidewalks Committee for resolution.

» Clarksville Police Chief Ricky Wilkinson said a new in-car citation system installed in town police vehicles has not gone online because the company that installed the system will not send personnel to conduct in-person training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

» Wilkinson also praised the organizers of the July 4 boat parade that took place near downtown Clarksville. Wilkinson estimate more than 200 boats participated in the parade.

» Operations Director Richard Elliott said roofing upgrades at both the town police department and the Chamber of Commerce building are completed. A recent downpour offered assurance that all leaks have been repaired, he said.

» Repaving work has been completed in the town cemetery as well as along Fourth and Fifth Streets and Rose Hill. VDOT has offered to provide gravel to fill in along the edge of the road near the paving, and repairs were completed on the pump station near Colleen’s Cove at a cost of $8,500.

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