Rescue plan

Havelock’s U.S. bailout hopes to attract economic developers

The Town of Havelock is taking a proactive approach with federal funding, hoping to attract future economic and industrial development.

With the help of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the city chose to upgrade its water and sewer systems, not only to better help current residents and business owners, but to attract more.

With ARP funding, the city will receive approximately $6,327,420 and will use the majority to upgrade the systems. The US bailout was passed by the United States Congress on March 10, 2021 and signed into law on March 11, 2021.

The city received $3,163,709.53 on July 21, 2021 and expects to receive the same amount on July 22, according to Lee Tillman, chief financial officer.

Other parts of the ARP funds will be used for smaller projects throughout the city. Below is a list of several of the major projects that will be upgraded.

  • Highway 70 Sewer Outfall – $3 million
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project, Upgrading the City’s Water Metering System – $2 million
  • Sewer Plant Well – $750,000
  • Sewer SCADA system – $400,000
  • Emergency Management Employee Shelter Upgrades – $75,000
  • Building ventilation systems – $75,000
  • Personal Protective Equipment – $27,419

Using ARP funds also means saving taxpayers money with how the city could have financed the projects. Instead of taking out a small, interest-bearing loan to fix water and sewer problems, ARP’s one-time payment funds the project without the city needing to raise taxes, City Manager Chris McGee explained. .

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Havelock’s water and sewage needs are not a recent issue, but more so in the past. McGee said city staff worked to accommodate the need before he arrived in January.

For a number of years, the city had problems with groundwater entering the sewer system, McGee said. The extra gallons of groundwater meant it also had to be treated, impacting the city’s ability to support economic expansion.

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The upgrade will remove groundwater from the sewer system while allowing adequate services to be provided to new or expanding businesses that may consider Havelock as a growth destination.

“The credit goes to the staff,” McGee said. “I’m excited for what this will do for the community and economic development. There was a long list of what we could spend the funds on and we thought it would be best to spend ours on big projects. infrastructure.”

Another notable project to attract economic development to the Town and County of Craven is Havelock’s infrastructure upgrades.

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Between Raleigh and Morehead City, US 70 is currently undergoing upgrades and will soon become Interstate 42 within the next two years. McGee added that he expects an increase in the movement of passengers and goods in the region.

With that in mind, the city is also considering extending its sewer system two to three miles west toward New Bern.

“There are quite a few properties that have both residential and commercial potential,” McGee said. “There is a significant amount of property towards the railroad that could also become commercial property and could use the railroad itself.”

There’s also a future $167.2 million Havelock Bypass that will play a key role in how and where Havelock can grow.

The bypass can become a viable location for commercial or even light industrial use with quick access to future I-42 and would be attractive for things like trucking companies or warehouses.

The biggest industry the city hopes to attract is the commercial industry that provides military support. To go along with this, McGee and his staff are also looking for growth opportunities to help expand Havelock’s identity outside of the military.

“This is a long-term process, but we’re thinking about what other businesses we could attract to meet the need for new homes, new neighborhoods and new businesses,” McGee said. “We want Havelock to be a place where people can work and play.”

Havelock’s Board of Commissioners approved the project’s ordinance in January and now McGee said the town is in the design process with the bidding process to follow. McGee added that he hopes construction of all ARP projects will be completed by June 2026.

Journalist Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at [email protected] Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription.