From the Town Administrator’s Desk . . . June 2021
Norwood has more good things going on now than ever.
I hope you are involved in this improvement in some way:
- growing your business,
- starting a business,
- involved in the farmer’s market,
- sprucing up your business, your home,
- involved in your church’s outreach ministry, or
- other civic organization that invests back in our town
This is the best and ultimately the only way we can be the best that we can be.
We are progressing well on our water transfer with Union County. This project is continually producing revenue that goes directly into our water and sewer funds which are then used replace or rehabilitate leaky lines, repair leaks, and more. This is important to you because it helps keep your water costs as low as possible.
While we are talking about water and sewer, council has recently adopted the budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. Water rates will remain at last year’s rates. Sewer rates will increase 30%.
The sewer rate increase was necessary as demonstrated by the fact that we have just been placed on the state’s distressed units list. This list is for water and (or) sewer systems that are not charging enough to cover their costs. So, with that information, we had an independent water and sewer professional do a rate study with very current data.
The guidance given to council is that, while not ideal, we could have our water rate remain the same this coming year as long as we started no water capital improvement projects. It will enable us to focus on the issue is that is more critical, our sewer system. Our sewer system has the vast majority of long-term debt obligation and more urgently needed an increase of rate to cover cost and satisfy these debt obligations.
In order to qualify for potential grant money that may be afforded through being on the distressed units list of North Carolina, the particular enterprise fund must be self-sustaining, meaning it has to charge enough to cover its own cost. For example, our sewer system would have to be able to operate long-term and have sufficient capital reserves, without the use of any money from our water fund.
Currently, the Norwood sewer system cannot do this. That is why council made the brave choice, the right choice to directly address the problem. Norwood has and will continue to explore was to make our sewer system, water system, sanitation system, every department as effective and efficient it can be.
Norwood recently had the most successful downtown revitalization workshop that our facilitator, Construction Professionals Network Institute (CPNI) has ever hosted. They commented that we had the most in attendance, the most high-level officials, AND the most enthusiasm of any town they had worked with.
We have already received thousands in donations for the Norwood Downtown Revitalization Project. We have funding for art in the downtown area. We also received decorative lights that adorn our water tower on Campbell Street.
Business in the downtown area is booming, as well. In April we had four ribbon cuttings for new businesses. We have more planned.
A restaurant that will provide casual, but slightly upscale dining in downtown is making progress remodeling their building and should be operational within the year.
Norwood is at work planning how to obtain the most assistance from the American Rescue Plan Act possible and using it for the greatest benefit to the town. This will be a long carefully executed process as we may find ways to use it to match other, possibly upcoming grant monies.
Norwood is also growing its industrial base. Economic Development of Stanly County worked with a local Norwood company, Stanly County, and the Town of Norwood to grow that company, production and employment.
We need you!
As you see this small sample of what Town of Norwood is doing, I encourage you to think about how you would like to get involved. There are still a few buildings downtown that could be rented or purchased, is it time to take the next step and open that business you have been thinking about for years? If so, Stanly Community College’s Small Business Center has office hours upstairs at 110 Mercantile.
Does your civic group or Sunday School class want to improve our town? There are many ways to do it. Maybe just patronizing our local businesses is a place to start. Whatever action you choose for the Town of Norwood, it will be welcomed! Please contact me if I can be of help to you.
Scott Howard, MBA
Town of Norwood
I hope you are all doing well. We have been busy at Town Hall, partnering with Union County on the largest water transfer project in North Carolina is monumental.
You can be proud that Norwood Town Hall did not have to acquire one additional staff member to manage this colossal undertaking. Many towns have project managers solely dedicated to handle such large tasks.
We are also moving along nicely with rehabilitating our wastewater treatment plant. This is a $4.27 million project. It is the largest if not one of the largest projects Norwood has ever done, behind the water project mentioned above. We are presently in negotiations with the lowest construction bidder.
We are also rehabilitating a long section of our sewer collection system. this $2+million project will aid us in keeping your sewer treatment costs as low as possible. Our tax money and water & sewer revenue is hard at work, as we are, to give us maximum value.
On a more personable note, please welcome Gina Huseman, our new Customer Service Specialist, who just joined our team on October 19th. She has a total of over 13 years and wants to bring a fresh face to our neighborhood.
Customer service is extremely important to her, and she wants to know what the towns’ needs and wants are to make our service better. This has always been her goal since she started working on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania, making sure we make great connections with everyone we meet.
Gina currently lives alone, with her French Bulldog Noah. He is a sweet pup, who has never met a stranger. She moved to North Carolina to be closer to her immediate family, which is important to her.
Family values, integrity and honesty are all qualities that are important to her. One of her mottoes is, “life is certainly short, but it is sweet”.
When you are in Town Hall, welcome her. I am excited for Norwood to have her on the team.
Scott Howard, MBA