In a 15 minute meeting Tuesday evening, Oct. 12, Edenton Town Council members met to discuss and vote on pressing municipal matters.

Two brief public hearings were held, one concerning an application for a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant and another for the text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance presented in the previous meeting.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a program established through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The purpose of the program is to provide grants “on a formula basis to cities, towns and counties in hopes of developing viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment for low and moderate-income persons,” according to HUD.

Elizabeth Bryant, Director of Planning and Community Development for Edenton, presented five units in town limits to be potentially renovated if the CDBG is awarded. Each of these units were chosen by a selection committee, which included Bryant, Councilman Roger Coleman and newly minted Edenton Town Manager Corey Gooden.

“Slated for possible reconstruction are three units and total substantial rehabilitation are two units. They are spread throughout north Edenton and there is also a unit on North Broad Street and one on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue,” Bryant said.

Outside consultants drafted the application for the grant and it will be submitted two days before the Friday deadline.

The council voted to close the public hearing for the CDBG unanimously without any questions or public comment.

The new amendments for Edenton’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) were initially presented by consultants at the Sept. 14 meeting. The Edenton Preservation Commission voted in September to approve the amendments and send them back to the council for a public hearing, which is the next step in the process.

Bryant returned to the podium to briefly address the amendments during the public hearing, the second of the evening.

“We hope that you will approve [the amendments], in particular, look at the section on disaster preparedness and recovery, that’s a really important addition,” Bryant said.

The council voted unanimously to close the public hearing after a brief discussion, with no public questions or comments. Mayor Jimmy Stallings thanked Bryant for her contributions and work on developing the UDO amendments.

Following the public hearing, the council is scheduled to vote on the amendments at a following meeting to adopt them as they are or vote to make their own amendments.

Regarding new business, three individual matters were addressed by the council.

First, the council voted unanimously to approve a budget amendment for a funding application and contract with Southern Bank for the first phase of the Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) Water Meter Project.

In July, David Tuten of Stroud Engineering presented the Public Works Committee with a study of the town’s water metering system, noting that $150,000 in grant money had already been awarded.

The first phase of the project will install 789 automated meters out of the 2,278 meters in Edenton’s system. The cost of the meters and installation hardware would be roughly $400,000, which requires additional funding from a bank.

At the council meeting in August, Gooden — at the time operating as Public Works Director — said he hoped construction on phase one would be completed by summer 2022.

Second, a resolution to sign and submit the CDBG application packet — discussed earlier in public hearing — was passed unanimously by the council to meet the deadline.

Third, the council voted unanimously to approve a budget amendment for the second phase of the 2021 Wastewater System Improvements. The first phase of the improvements included work on the lagoon aeration system, headworks, pump station, disinfection system and administration building.

The Finance Committee, chaired by Councilman Samuel Dixon, introduced three budget amendments for the council: a reuse grant for the Daedalus Yachts Building, which was adopted as a Capital Project Ordinance at September’s meeting; an Airport Fund Facilities rental fee; and for paving and lighting rehabilitation for Runway 1-19 at Northeastern Regional Airport.

All three budget amendments were approved unanimously by the council.

Councilman Hackney High Jr. brought forth two items of note: the amending of a Classification of Schedule for the town’s water system technician position, of which High noted it would not cost the town any extra money; and to approve a Professional Services Agreement for an aviation consultant to assist in the runway rehabilitation at Northeastern Regional Airport. Both items were approved unanimously by the council.

Gooden introduced two agreements on behalf of Utilities Committee Chair Elton Bond, who was not present for the meeting. The first was to approve the 2021 Disaster Service Agreement with ElectriCities and the second was to approve the 2021 Tree Trimming Agreement with ElectriCities. Both were approved unanimously.

Councilman Craig Miller brought forward the final item of note on behalf of the Public Works Committee, which was to approve an Engineering Professional Services Agreement and funding packet for a North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality loan, both for the second phase of the wastewater system project. Miller noted the second phase would focus on inflow and infiltration. The agreement and packet were approved unanimously by the council.

With no public comments, the council adjourned.

Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.