ROCKINGHAM — Nearly $8 million from the 2022 Appropriations Act is slated to come to Richmond County to fund a variety of projects.
County Manager Bryan Land last week gave the Richmond County Board of Commissioners a breakdown of local allocations from the $27.9 billion budget, signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on July 11.
The largest allocation, which Land referred to as his “personal favorite,” was $4 million for a wastewater line to serve the new Energy Way Industrial Park, off of Airport Road south of Hamlet.
“We have now secured $7.25 million in grant funding for the $9 million dollar project,” Land said. “That’s almost unheard of.”
Part of that funding already approved includes $1.5 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation and $1 million from the N.C. Commerce Industrial Development Fund.
The county is working with the city of Rockingham to provide the wastewater service.
According to a memorandum of understanding between the two governmental bodies, the county would pay to extend the sewer line from the Energy Way complex to Rockingham’s existing sewer system, with the connection point expected to be a 12-inch gravity sewer line near the intersection of Airport Road and Maple Street — around 6 miles. Once complete, the city would take ownership of the line.
The county received $750,000 for water and wastewater infrastructure projects from last year’s budget, in addition to $9 million for a water and wastewater extension to Rockingham Speedway.
While the perception was that — at least some of — the funding would be going toward improvements at the track, Land told commissioners in June that “(e)xtending water, wastewater and possibly adding the pedestrian bridge will exhaust the entire $9 million — without any upgrades to the facility itself.”
Richmond Community College will also be receiving $1.75 million for the future Hendrick Center for Automotive Training.
The workforce training certificate for automotive technician, announced in mid-June, will take weeks to achieve instead of years. The program is a public-private-philanthropic partnership between the state, college, two local foundations and Hendrick Automotive Group.
Last year’s budget allocated $1.5 million for the program, though it had not been officially announced.
“Dr. (Dale) McInnis is extremely excited about that opportunity,” Land said.
The town of Ellerbe has been allocated $1.8 million to pay off a USDA loan for its wastewater line. Land said that loan has been “burdening the town … for some time now.”
The county’s volunteer fire and rescue departments will receive a combined total of $75,000 — $7,500 each for Cordova Fire and Rescue, Derby Fire Department, East Rockingham Fire Department, Ellerbe Fire Department, Ellerbe Rescue, Hamlet Rescue, Hoffman Fire and Rescue, Mountain Creek Fire Department, Northside Fire Department and Rockingham (Richmond County) Rescue.
According to an earlier press release from the office of Rep. Ben Moss, a total of $100,000 had been requested — which was the same amount allocated in the previous state budget.
Place of Grace Campus, the county’s church-run homeless shelter and ministry located at the former Rohanen Middle School in East Rockingham, was also allocated $100,000.
In addition to the financial allocations, a project code was assigned for “Raise the Age” renovations at the Richmond Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Last year’s budget appropriated $10.7 million for the project.
“Our team, on the county side, has worked vigorously over the last few months to battle for our share of these short-session funds in Richmond County,” Land said. “We’re extremely fortunate for the allocations we’ve received, as many of our neighbors received zero.”
Land thanked Moss, R-Richmond, and Sens. Tom McInnis, R-Moore, and Dave Craven, R-Randolph for “representing Richmond County in a massive way.”
Due to redistricting, McInnis will no longer represent his home county of Richmond after this year since moving to Moore County. The county will be included in Craven’s district.