MADISON — Plans are now in motion to increase water capacity in the Town of Madison by 500,000 gallons per day, thanks to a partial-matching grant awarded by the Golden Leaf Foundation.
The grant, awarded in April, will go towards making improvements to the town’s water treatment plant.
The $500,000 worth of grant funds will be awarded to the town incrementally, once $125,000 of town funds are used towards the project aimed at building a new settling system for the plant.
“That’s a half a million dollars that taxpayers potentially don’t have to come up with,” said Town Manager Bob Scott earlier this year. “Water and sewer has to pay for itself by state law. You can’t use tax money. If we had to come up with $500,000, we would have to raise water bills quite a bit.”
The town will have 18 months to complete the project, retroactive to April. According to the agreement, Madison officials can file for an extension on the project if needed.
Scott said at the Madison Board of Alderman meeting on Thursday that he anticipates the project taking approximately one year – since Madison will more than likely only be dealing with one contractor.
The grant will allow the town to sustain and provide residents and businesses a combined total of 2 million gallons of water per day.
Scott said in March that there isn’t a pressing need for increased water capacity today, but as Mayor David Myers confirmed Thursday, the move is imperative for future residential and industrial growth.
“At this particular time, we don’t have a need for that water specifically, but if we had a large industry come in, you don’t want to turn them away because you can’t provide,” said Scott earlier this year.
In August, it was announced that Rockingham County would participate in the Community Based Grants Initiative, which allowed the county to submit between up to three letters of inquiry for project ideas that total of no more than $1.5 million.
On behalf of the Golden Leaf Foundation, County Manager Lance Metzler served as the key contact in the selection and vetting process.
In the fall, the Town of Madison submitted a $500,000 proposal that was selected by Metzler to be reviewed by Golden Leaf. The inquiry focused on making improvements to the town’s water treatment plant.
The foundation invited the town to submit a complete application in January. Golden Leaf officials made a site visit in March to view the facilities and review project plans.
“Obviously, this helps open up the infrastructure and development along that corridor there and compliments the state resources that were appropriated to the region to help improve the availability of water and sewer sites,” Golden Leaf Foundation President Dan Gerlach told RockinghamNow earlier this month. “That helps with economic development and that’s why we decided to award the grant.”
In 2016, the state set aside $14.5 million to help build water systems in Guilford and Rockingham County.
With the improvements, Madison could also potentially build a revenue stream as a water supplier to Guilford County.
“Our goal is to help transform the economies of rural tobacco-dependant areas like Rockingham County,” said Gerlach. “By assisting in the project, sponsored by the Town of Madison, we help open that corridor to development. We believe that area is going to grow, coming up north from Greensboro and northern Guilford County.”
The Golden Leaf president added that the foundation believes the project is one of the better projects in the county that could lead to economic development down the road.
Located off U.S. 220, Madison has a logistically close plant to Guilford County towns like Summerfield, Stokesdale and Oak Ridge.
Summerfield and Oak Ridge residents depend on well water and private water utility Aqua NC. Stokesdale has its own water system, and purchases its water from Winston-Salem. Some Stokesdale residents are still on well water, and many others are Aqua NC customers.