The amount of money in Aiken City’s coffers has increased by over $2 million.
The Aiken City Council voted unanimously late Monday to amend its 2022-23 budget to include nearly $2.16 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The American Rescue Plan Act is the third and final act passed by Congress to stimulate the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdowns put in place to slow the spread of the virus. It was approved by the House on February 27, 2021, by the Senate on March 6, 2021, and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.
The law included $350 billion to help state and local governments recover from the pandemic. Aiken received a total of over $4.31 million from the law in two installments of nearly $2.16 million. One of these payments was made last year and the other in June.
The budget amendment unanimously approved by city council on Monday evening allocates nearly $2.09 million of the June payment to sewer projects in the city, with the remaining $70,000 to be spent by the council on a later date.
Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh told city council the funds would go towards the sewer portion of a planned $37-38 million project focused on upgrading Powderhouse Road infrastructure.
The proposed Powderhouse project includes an access road and improvements to the water and sewer systems in the area. The city received $8 million from another federal program for the project and $7 million from county sales tax for the project.
Bedenbaugh added that the city has also applied for funds from the South Carolina State Infrastructure Bank, but has not yet received funding from the bank. He said he was optimistic the city would receive funding due to additional dollars coming into the state for road maintenance.
The American Rescue Plan Act also provided $195 billion to the states and the District of Columbia.
Mike Przybylowicz, the city’s director of engineering and utilities, added in a letter that the funds would provide 4,350 linear feet of 12-inch sewer pipe along with all necessary manholes and fittings.
Council also voted unanimously to approve a resolution in which they agree to provide water and sewer services to a property being developed into a 171 townhouse development off Powderhouse Road.
The subdivision would consist of 100 four-bedroom townhouses and 71 three-bedroom townhouses that will be sold and not rented. The subdivision would be required to annex to the city when a property bordering it annexes to the city.
Council also voted unanimously to rezone a property at 2223 Whiskey Road (a former Checkers location) to allow the current building to be demolished and a Scooter’s Coffee to be built on the site.
The cafe will be drive-thru only and access will be via Whiskey Road (right turn only) and East Gate Shopping Centre. Seven parking spaces will be available for employees and people picking up beverages for delivery services.
The council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance committing the city to a development agreement with the South Company to build six townhouses on Union Street.
The city will need to upgrade water and sewer lines to service the project. One of the conditions of the project is that the developer will pay a fee to have the work done.
The board also voted unanimously to accept a $298,082 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for design work on a runway rehabilitation project at Aiken Regional Airport.
Acceptance of the grant means the city and state will each provide an additional $16,560 for the project.
Council voted unanimously to accept the deeds for the water, sewer and stormwater systems in two areas of the Woodside development and to approve the plans for the recreation and tourism departments.
The council issued a proclamation making August 8 Pet Welfare Day in the city.