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by Jay Lamm
LOUISBURG — Residents will have a 3-percent increase in solid waste collection rates, effective July 31.
The increase amounts to 70 cents per household per month, Town Administrator Mark Warren told the town council Monday night.
The council accepted the increase as part of a new agreement with Waste Industries.
The contract is binding for three years with an automatic extension of two more years unless either party gives written notice not to extend.
The service fee can be adjusted annually, according to the agreement.
The once-a-week back door collection will be $19.06 monthly; twice-a-week is $22.17 monthly. Curbside service is $14.05 monthly.
Customers may get additional containers at a cost by contacting the town.
“It’s worth the increase to keep the trash containers off the street and out of sight,” said councilwoman Mary Green Johnson.
The town has been awarded a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant that will be used to manage the Mineral Springs project.
The full project for the low-income housing development involves upgrades to infrastructure.
There are no matching funds necessary, Warren said.
“This is a long time in coming,” Johnson said.
The grant will help with community engagement through public sessions and hearings, training of staff for grant administration and development of an application through the state Department of Commerce for project funding, Warren said.
In another development action, the council approved a letter of intent to hire an engineering firm for planning and design services for the South Main Street sidewalks and storm drainage project.
Funding is through the Federal Highway Administration in a $506,000 grant, Warren said.
In an update on paving projects in town, Warren said resurfacing of Kemp Road is completed and work at Church Street will soon begin.
Efforts for crosswalks at South Main Street and Wade and Johnson streets are under way, pending access agreements, he added.
Main Street attention
The council approved forming a committee by the recommendation of Mayor Karl Pernell to study the downtown area for improvements and to move toward filling vacant buildings with business.
“The town needs to lead this,” Pernell said, noting that the town will consult the N.C. Main Street Program.
Potable Water Needs
The council moved forward with an agreement to protect and enhance its water supply.
The council will work with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to address water supply needs, including sources, storage, costs of additional water supplies, state and federal permitting.
•The board approved a planned midnight outage that was expected to last until 2 a.m. May 22.
Duke Energy-Progress requested the outage to repair a transmission line. The town expected to increase police patrol during the outage.
Utilities Director Ray Patterson said the outage would affect the entire town and parts of the county.
•Councilors received an invitation to attend the five-year anniversary of Franklin Community Health Services. An ice cream social will be at River Bend Park, June 7, from noon to 2 p.m.
•They also scheduled a budget work session June 6 at the Operations Center, 5:15 p.m. The session is open to the public.
•The board recognized in prayer the loss of lives to the tornado in Oklahoma on Monday.