City seeks recoup of storm expenses

Published 1:05 am Sunday, October 9, 2011

The City of Washington estimates its recovery expenses related to Hurricane Irene at $1.78 million.
During its meeting Monday, the City Council will consider adopting a budget ordinance to appropriate funds to cover those expenses.
“Staff is working with FEMA on the reimbursement of eligible expenses. Adjustments will be made as expenditures and the reimbursement claims are finalized,” reads a memorandum from Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer, to the mayor and council.
Washington Electric Utilities incurred most of the Irene-related expenses at $1,050,000. The general fund incurred $338,368, the water fund and sewer fund each incurred $45,000, the solid-waste fund incurred $300,500 and the airport fund incurred $5,000 in storm-related expenses, according to the memorandum.
The council also will consider awarding a contract for the replacement of the Brown Street bridge.
Bids on the replacement project were scheduled to be opened Thursday.
During its Sept. 12 meeting, the Washington City Council authorized spending $78,731.13 for engineering services required for construction engineering and inspection for the Brown Street bridge project. The city will use Summit Consulting, based in Hillsborough, for those services.
In August, the council allocated $220,000 more for the project. That allocation of the additional funds to the $600,000 previously designated for the project came after the council was informed the estimated cost of the project increased to $820,000. That cost is reimbursable to the city at an 80-percent rate. That leaves the net cost to the city at approximately $164,000, which can be covered with Powell Bill funds.
Powell Bill revenues are monies local governments receive from the state for street-related projects.
The reason for the increase, at least in part, is because of a misunderstanding over how the project would be supervised during the construction phase, according to Allen Lewis, the city’s public works director.
In October 2006, the bridge’s continuing deterioration caused the city to close the bridge for additional assessments to determine if it was feasible to repair or replace it. Motorists and several residents who live near the bridge complained about the bridge closure, saying it was an inconvenience. They asked that it be repaired or replaced.
The council’s entire agenda may be obtained by visiting the city’s web¬site at The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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