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Rescue Plan could fund Windsor water system, stormwater projects

Windsor Town Manager William Saunders provided a capital projects update to the Windsor Town Council at its most recent meeting, including some preliminary details on how American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds could benefit the town.

William Saunders

ARPA is President Joe Biden’s plan to provide direct relief to Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, rescue the economy and contain the virus, according to WhiteHouse.gov.

“I’ll probably be bringing something formal to you next month as it relates to the American Rescue Plan Act funds, or ARPA funds,” Saunders told council members. “The town will receive approximately $2.066 million in two tranches.”

He said the first tranche, or portion, of $1.033 million was received June 30.

“We’re rolling that forward to this year’s budget,” he said, adding that the second $1.033 million should come June 30, 2022.

Saunders explained that this ARPA money can be used for anything that the CARES Act funding could be used for, plus a number of other things that are irrelevant to Windsor because they are services the town does not provide.

He said ARPA funds can be used for some limited revenue replacement for revenues that were lost during the pandemic, and it can also be used for infrastructure projects, primarily certain water system projects, sewer system projects, some stormwater projects, broadband and more.

“But for us, it’s primarily, infrastructure-wise, water system and/or stormwater projects,” he said to council members. “We’re still getting preliminary guidance on this, so I hope I’ll have more concrete information maybe for your next meeting to bring some information to you. 

“But the first two things I’m considering right now that may work for this first tranche are the Virginia Avenue and Duke Street water project that we have found recently cost has been much higher than we had anticipated previously.”

Before beginning his discussion of ARPA money, Saunders gave a brief update on the Duke Street and Virginia Avenue water main replacement, stating that work to obtain the necessary easements was under way. Easement plats have been received from Bowman Consulting, reviewed by town staff, and the staff has gotten Bowman to make a few changes.

“So they look like they’re ready,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I’m going to chat with our town attorney after the meeting tonight about the next step as far as working with him to produce the deeds to go along with these easements.”

At the conclusion of his discussion on ARPA funding, Saunders said the town does have a stormwater project that addresses an area near the now-closed Farmer’s Daughter Cafe on U.S. Route 460. He said this project has already been designed and put to paper by engineers, and it could benefit from the ARPA money.

“I’m also talking with the county on that as far as stormwater funding from stormwater fees, but between their ARPA funding stormwater funds and our ARPA funding, we may be able to see that to fruition or put some money aside for the stormwater committee,” he said, noting the committee has a number of projects that could benefit.

While addressing other capital projects, Saunders provided an update on the Windsor Town Center roof replacement and moisture repair project, stating that the agreement has been signed with Adelphia Contracting and materials have been ordered, but there is a change to the previously proposed time those materials will arrive.

“The mid-July estimated time of arrival of the materials is now mid-to-late August,” Saunders said, noting it was Aug. 25 to be exact. “We have been in communication with the contractors. They’re still good with the project. They’re still out there waiting on the materials, so it doesn’t look like that is going to cause us to lose the contractor that we identified and contracted with on this. It’s just a time issue on the delivery of the materials.”

Council member George Stubbs asked Saunders how long the contract on the roof goes, still concerned about the possibility the contractor may back out because of the materials being unavailable. 

“I think this is the second time it’s been extended, isn’t it?” Stubbs asked.

“Yes,” Saunders said. “Really, we can give them notice to proceed whenever they’ve got the materials and are ready to go, and then they have 60 more days to do the work. They haven’t given us any indication that they’re intending to back out of the project based on the materials timeline. 

“As a matter of fact, the president of the company and the project manager met out there last week to go over details of the project in anticipation of materials coming,” Saunders continued. “When we had the original preconstruction meeting, he was not able to make it, and he himself came down last week to talk about it. So we’re still hopeful that they’re going to do the project, and it’s just going to be another month or so later than we had previously anticipated.”

Addressing the Shiloh Drive sidewalk repair project, Saunders stated in a memo to the mayor and Town Council that photos of the failure of the repair were taken and shared with the Isle of Wight County project manager. Concerns about the integrity of the design, construction and repair were also made known. The county and the Virginia Department of Transportation are trying to determine if the issue is predominantly caused by erosion or by poor soil in order to craft an appropriate repair.

“We anticipate receiving a close-out reimbursement of $37,983 from our project contribution,” Saunders stated.

He also addressed the public works building project, stating that it has been completed.

“Once all the invoices come in, we’ll determine the final balance on the project,” he said to council members. “We should only have one outstanding invoice and that is on project management for the month of June. I expect to see that any time.”

He said the town would also be receiving a reimbursement from the county on some costs in connection to the sewer main. Town Treasurer Cheryl McClanahan confirmed July 30 that Windsor received this reimbursement in the amount of $1,700.