Berlin Council Funds Stormwater Project

BERLIN – Town officials agreed to reassign funds to allow a stormwater project to move forward.

The Berlin Town Council this week voted unanimously to proceed with stormwater management upgrades at Pine Street, Franklin Avenue and Nelson Street. The decision relied on the council’s agreement to use funding planned for a well house project for the stormwater improvements.

“There are some grant funds that are going to potentially be heading our direction,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said. “We don’t know if that’s solid or not. It’s a good likelihood they will come through. The theory is if that comes through that frees up some capital to move in that direction.”

Jamey Latchum, the town’s water resources director, informed the council his department was seeking the reassignment of $500,000 set to be used for a well.

“Doing so would create financial flexibility and allow for project operations to continue in a fiscally sound matter,” Latchum wrote in a report to the council.

According to Latchum the town has been notified of potential financial assistance from the Maryland Department of the Envinroment. Because of that potential funding help, Latchum asked the council to transfer half a million dollars assigned to replace a well to the stormwater upgrades, which have been talked about for the past decade.

“It’s supposed to help a lot,” Latchum said. “Right now we do have a bottleneck.”

He said that the town had $783,000 budgeted for the upgrades but would be able to pay for nearly the entire $1.3 million project if the transfer was made.

Councilman Jack Orris asked how the well project would be paid for if the transfer was completed. Tyndall said the town would likely be receiving grant funding. While nothing is official yet, the town could potentially reiceve $867,640 in loan and grant funding for the well project, $172,040 in loan and grant funding for a lead service line inventory and $1.1 million in loan and grant funding for lead service line replacement.

“We’ve been notified of our strong eligibility for these funds,” Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said.

She added that the council would have the chance to approve receipt of the funding before any agreement was finalized.

Latchum said the reason he was asking for the transfer now was so that the stormwater improvements could begin during the dry season.

“A lot of the underground work could be happening before Christmas,” he said. “That is a very complex job they have to do.”

He said the dry season typically lasted until early December.

The council voted unanimously to approve moving forward with the project.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.