CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Town Council discussed options to pay for the remainder of the town’s sewer and water project Thursday, March 7, without reaching an agreement.
An estimated $4 million is needed to complete the upgrade to the 100-year-old infrastructure.
Residents approved the use of the town’s Investment Fund in the March 4 special election, but council members couldn’t decide how much of the fund to use or even whether to use it. They did approve moving $1 million from the General Fund in the short-term to keep paying incoming bills.
Councilmen Jim Beauchamp and Tim McCluskey remained at an impasse over how to solve the problem, debating fractions of percent on interest income and how those funds could best be realigned. They were in agreement not to take lump sums from the enterprise fund.
McCluskey said he had been clear from the beginning that he did not want to take from the Investment Fund and offered up several strategies for reconfiguring the town’s savings and loans.
Beauchamp made a motion to use $1.5 million from the General Fund, up to $2.3 million from the Enterprise Fund and pay for the balance of the project from the Investment Fund. That motion died for lack of a second.
Councilman Jeff Morgan proposed taking $1.8 million from the Investment Fund and $1.5 from the General Fund, and looking into the ability to cash out the CD at Queenstown Bank securing the loan on the Liberty Street property.
Unlocking the CD could be viable, Beauchamp agreed.
When it became apparent they were not going to reach a decision, McCluskey motioned to move the $1 million from the General Fund to pay bills as the project advances. The motion was seconded by Morgan and carried.
Councilmen also heard from citizens who expressed concerns over the town’s perceived lack of preparation for the project originally.
Tom Love said the council needs to restore the voters confidence. He suggested a monthly financial report on the town’s website along with regular construction updates.
Residents also weighed in on keeping the “Main Street” sidewalk upgrades in the construction budget.
With many in favor of spending the money now to further enhance the appeal of downtown, it would be foolish not to keep the sidewalk improvements in the budget, Michelle Draper said, “especially with the courthouse looking beautiful.”
Several others echoed her sentiment, suggesting that for Centreville to be a destination for visitors, enhanced sidewalks make the town more welcoming, allowing for sidewalk cafes and restaurants to better attract and accommodate customers, and aesthetics that make the town more vibrant.
Joe Brown said he was concerned the sidewalk portion of the budget also would increase, citing no drawings or plans presented to correlate with the initial proposed expenditure of $45,000.
The council decided to seek more information from the State Highway Administration before they review the part of the budget allocated to sidewalks.