September 12, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Water Resources Development Grant – Archers Creek West Stream Restoration - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

I have scheduled time on the September 12 meeting agenda for the Board to provide further direction on the Water Resources Development Grant awarded to the Town for the Archers Creek West Stream Restoration project.  I have attached a copy of the supporting information for this project that was considered by the Board at the January 2017 meeting, and this information includes a full description of the original scope of work for this project.

The total grant award is $25,000, and requires a local match of $25,000.  As discussed in January 2017, the Town submitted the grant application with an expectation that the Town would provide $12,500 toward the local match, with the 4 residential neighborhoods along Archers Creek West providing a $12,500 combined contribution ($3,125 each).  The original scope of work included the removal of dead and excessive live vegetation to improve water flow along the 1.1 mile segment of the creek, with the vast majority (~90%) of the work expected to occur adjacent to the Woodpecker Lane mobile home park that is essentially the “headwaters” of this creek segment.  As you know, there has since been unanticipated disagreement and difficulty in securing the originally anticipated contributions for the local match, and it was also suggested by one property owner that the Town undertake a more involved process to secure contributions from additional property owners.  Thus, what began as a simple, straightforward, and helpful project has evolved into a more complicated issue that is diverting Town resources from other, more pressing issues and projects.

Due to the unanticipated disagreement and difficulty, and in an effort to assist the original proponents of the project (Emerald Plantation), it was reported at the Board’s August 2017 meeting that an alternative scope of work involving the construction of a living shoreline in Emerald Plantation was being investigated.  State officials expressed preliminary support for a revised scope of work and a revised grant award, but noted that a revised grant application would be required to amend the scope of work.  This potential revised scope of work then generated additional disagreement and difficulty, and thus I am now seeking the Board’s direction on how to proceed on this issue.

I believe the Board has 3 viable options to consider, and there may also be other options or variations that the Board may wish to consider:

  1. Accept the grant, and complete most of the original scope of work as outlined in January 2017.  (The scope of work would no longer include any vegetation removal in Forest Hills and Emerald Landing, which was expected to be minimal from the beginning.)  The grant would provide $25,000, the Town would provide $12,500, Emerald Plantation would provide $6,250, and Woodpecker Lane would provide $6,250.  This option assumes that both Emerald Plantation and Woodpecker Lane property owners agree to these contribution amounts.


    The Board should note that the Town will be responsible for managing the contract for the vegetation removal, and will also be accountable to the State grant program and environmental permitting agencies

    If the Board selects this option, additional coordination will be required with the property  owners in the Woodpecker Lane area.  If this coordination is successful, the Board would be asked to approve a resolution accepting the grant at the October meeting.

  2. Formally revise the scope of work with the State grant program, and pursue the living shoreline alternative (or some variation thereof) for the Emerald Plantation community. The grant would provide $25,000, the Town would provide $12,500, and Emerald Plantation would provide $12,500.  This alternative would also include the removal of sediment and vegetation in a small area adjacent to Emerald Plantation. This option assumes that Emerald Plantation property owners agree to this contribution amount.


    The pursuit of option 2 would also require additional coordination with State and Emerald Plantation officials.  If this coordination is successful, the Board would be asked to approve a resolution accepting the grant at the October meeting.

  3. Reject the grant, focus on higher Town priorities, and consider potential future grant applications to improve water quality in Archers Creek.  It would be unfortunate for the Town to turn down $25,000 of grant funds, however, this amount is relatively small and requires an equal local match, and the Town would likely be able to assemble Water Resources Development Grant applications that are competitive in the future.

The Board should note that the FY 17-18 adopted budget does not include the noted $12,500 contribution from the Town, and a General Fund budget amendment will be necessary if the Board selects option 1 or option 2 above.  The necessary budget amendment would be presented for Board consideration with the accompanying resolution accepting the grant.    

I look forward to discussing this issue with the Board at the September 12 meeting, and welcome your direction.  I stand ready to implement whatever option the Board selects.  As this issue has now been languishing for 3 months, it is likely increasingly important that the Board determine the preferred approach in the very near future.