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Relief funding could go toward stormwater

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Just before Monday afternoon’s annual budget workshop, the Village of Clemmons received documentation from the U.S. Treasury Department that part of the $6.1 million in relief funding could be used to address the growing stormwater problem.

Village Manager Scott Buffkin said he received a 151-page document just 30 minutes prior to that workshop, which was followed by the regular council meeting Monday night.

“I was just reading through the interim guidance released yesterday,” Buffkin said Tuesday morning, “which makes it clear now that stormwater is an allowable use for the ARP money. So I anticipate we will use a fairly large amount of our allocation for that purpose. We’re going to need some more boots on the ground to help make that happen.

“We’ve got millions of dollars in projects identified and a limited revenue stream to pay for them. I think Mr. (Wes) Kimbrell (stormwater engineer) had estimated at one point with our current revenue stream that it was going to take us something close to 20 years to do just what we currently have on the books, and you’ve got to assume that other projects are going to come along during that period of time. So this may be something of a lifeline to help us take care of these things in a more timely manner.”

Buffkin went into the workshop and meeting not being aware of that new development, thinking if the earlier general use of the funds was interpreted strictly (water, sewer, broadband, etc.), there would be limited outlets for use.

He stated if that was the case, one consideration would be to use some funding for the sewer extension from the Harper Road pump station to Blanket Creek to help serve the northwest portion of Clemmons — near the new Lake at Belmont apartment project — “and hopefully that will spur some more development in that quadrant.

“At this point, we are making sure we know exactly what we can use it for and prioritize lists so we’re ready to go as soon as we actually receive the money.”

Buffkin said that the money has to be encumbered, but not actually spent, by the end of calendar year 2024. He added that the $6.1 million would be split with the first round of funding coming this June and the second round in June 2022.

The actual workshop involved finance director Ann Stroud going through the proposed budget page by page along with talking points including the ARP Funds, General Fund revenues and expenses, Public Works, streets, planning/zoning, capital outlay and personnel.

The budget will be presented at the next meeting on Monday, May 24, at 6 p.m. with a public hearing on the budget to follow on June 14.

During the planner’s report, Nasser Rahimzadeh addressed another budget item — the consideration of getting an economic analysis from Urban3, a consulting firm specializing in land use economics, property tax analysis and community design.

“They basically do a study of what types of developments really pay for themselves and what types of developments are drains on your revenue stream,” Rahimzadeh said. “What I’m thinking is it will create what I most want — placing a dollar value on development. What it’s going to do is look at land use not necessarily from the perspective of architecture and engineering, but look at it purely from dollars and cents. It is our No. 1 asset.”

He said that Urban3 will provide revenue analysis and cost analysis, and take out the subjectivity of making decisions.

“It’s pure data-driven,” Rahimzadeh said. “It’s not guesstimating. It looks at all the data and tries to put that into some kind of presentable format.”

The project budget range proposal is from $41,780 to $45,780.

In a business item on Monday night’s agenda, the council adopted Ordinance 2021-06 and the consistency statement provided by staff for a Zoning Map Amendment for properties owned by TMP of Clemmons LLC, known as vacant parcels used by Animal Ark Veterinary Services located at 3507 Lawrence St. from RS-15 (Residential, Single Family) to LB-S (Limited Business — Special) for property of .43 acres (Zoning Docket C-239).

Followed an overview by Rahimzadeh, the action followed a public hearing where the only person to speak was Luke Dickey of Stimmel Associates PA, who said he was representing Mitch Spindel of Animal Ark — who was also in attendance.

“It was parking that was overflow that was being used by Animal Ark, but it was on residentially zoned property, so you can’t do that with a business for that type of use,” Dickey said. “That parking was overflow for the church, so that was an allowed use at that time, but as soon as Mitch bought that for his business, then that brought us out of compliance. Mr. (Mike) Rogers (councilman) had noticed that when we came in with that last expansion that we had, so we wanted to make sure we brought that back into compliance.”

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

• Heard from Shannon Ford in her marketing and communications report that 582 customers came for the opening day of the Farmers Market on last Saturday morning at the Jerry Long Family YMCA. The market is held each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The First Responder Drive-Thru Appreciation Lunch will be held on Tuesday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Agape Faith Church on Lewisville-Clemmons Road. Also, E-Recycle will be Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Public Works Facility.

• Heard from Buffkin that Clemmons will be advertising to receive applications from citizens interested in serving on the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment with a May 31 deadline.

• Approved resolutions for Tax Collection by the Forsyth County Tax Collector — Resolution 2021-R-05 for Collection of 2021 Taxes and Resolution 2021-R-06 for Collection of 2020 & Prior Years’ Taxes.