Golden LEAF Foundation pays off for Clemmons: Village to receive over $600,000 in grant funding for stormwater projects

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 15, 2023

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Clemmons was a big winner in the Golden LEAF Foundation’s Flood Mitigation Program, receiving word of a windfall of over $600,000 in grant funding to be used on three major Stormwater Capital Improvement Projects.

Emily Harrison, stormwater technician II with the village, announced Monday night’s town council meeting.

The Golden LEAF board approved just over $1.3 million in funding to support six N.C. projects through the Flood Mitigation Program in Ashe, Chatham, Dare and Forsyth counties. Clemmons topped the list with half the projects and nearly half the funding.

“We are very excited and very thankful for the Golden LEAF Foundation awarding us this opportunity to help upgrade more of our culvert system within the Village of Clemmons and providing some much-needed financial assistance to help move these projects along even faster,” Harrison said. “The nice thing is that we will be getting all of that money back so that we can then put that money toward other projects down the road.”

The local list in Clemmons includes:

• $250,000 to replace existing infrastructure with improved capacity to address flooding in the Greendale Way area.
• $186,600 for engineering, design and construction costs to upsize and reconfigure piping to increase the capacity for stormwater at the Bridle Path area due to flooding during heavy rain.
• $181,500 to replace the existing culvert with a larger, reinforced concrete pipe culvert and to install a rip-rap pad downstream in the North Lakeshore Drive area that experiences flooding during heavy rains.
Staff and the council praised the efforts of Harrison in helping to secure the funding.

“That doesn’t happen by accident,” council member Mike Combest said. “If that’s not a testament to how we — our village — get a dollar’s worth for every penny we spend, I don’t know what is.”

Harrison said she attended an N.C. Stormwater Association seminar earlier this year, and one of the topics discussed was a flood mitigation program and grant opportunities available to local municipalities through the Golden LEAF Foundation.

Knowing that Clemmons currently has 18 Capital Improvement Projects on its list at an estimated $4.5 million, Harrison then met with Village Manager Mike Gunnell to discuss what projects might best fit the requirements for the program. Then he reached out to LJB Engineering, which has done a lot of work in Clemmons.

The next step was narrowing it down to three projects and meeting on-site with members of the Golden LEAF staff before they presented to their board with the official announcement coming on June 1.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Harrison said, “but it will help our budget out.”

The state appropriated $25 million to the Golden LEAF Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of the state’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers, for a Flood Mitigation Program with funding up to $250,000 per project and funds only awarded to units of local government.

Mayor Mike Rogers thanked Harrison for her “hard work and efforts to go out and seek grants where they may be hiding for us to use and help fix our infrastructure.”

Gunnell added that the Greendale project is in its final permitting stages and waiting for a couple of permits from the Corp of Engineers.

“Once that’s done, we should be able to put it out for bid,” Gunnell said.

Also, in Monday night’s meeting, the council adopted the budget ordinance and stormwater utility fee rate for fiscal year 2023-2024.
The General Fund Budget is $13,250,880, and the Stormwater Enterprise Budget is $2,173,325. The property tax is calculated at $0.15 per $100 valuation, and the Stormwater Utility Fee is $90 per year per equivalent residential unit.

In the previous council meeting in May, the council approved an interlocal agreement with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for fiscal year 2023-2024, but that didn’t include the drone program, which Gunnell said he was still waiting to receive information for — and that it would be handled as a separate item going forward at that point.

After Monday night’s meeting, Gunnell said he still had not received any of the requested information, “however, they did contact us to let us know they are working on it.”

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Approved entering into an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Winston-Salem and the Village of Clemmons to use $200,000 for a comprehensive transportation study that assesses the impacts of traffic growth on key intersections and roadways, as well as the businesses, homes, schools and other agencies that these intersections and roadways serve. The village will use Surface Transportation Block Grant Direct Attributable (STBG-DA) funds for its plan consisting of $160,000 STBG-DA funds with a $40,000 local match. The Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) approved funding for the plan through the allocation of STBG-DA grant funds as part of the fiscal year 2023-2024 annual Unified Planning Work Program.
• Heard that a survey supporting a Pedestrian Plan is live and being promoted around town in various spots. It can be found on the village’s website.
• Approved Grant Ordinance 2023-04 for American Rescue Funds reappropriation by reducing funding for infrastructure projects and extending paying for salaries and benefits for another year.
• Made several appointments to the following boards: Planning Board — Judy Cherry, Jimmy Smith, Randy Wooden, and then removing Rob Cockrum and appointing Dave Orrell to fill the remainder of his term; Zoning Board of Adjustment: Carl Davy Romano (regular position), Karen Summers (alternate position), and then appointing Charles Hauser to fill the remainder of Dave Orrell’s term; Triad Municipal ABC Board: Jack Frazier.