The Lansing Board of Aldermen held a discussion regarding how to use Powell Bill funds during its monthly meeting Monday, July 14.
“There are a lot of different funds and items that the Powell Bill money can be used for that I don’t think have been taken advantage of,” said Marcy Little, town clerk for Lansing. “It seems like there have been some things that could be covered by Powell Bill funds that haven’t been.”
Powell Bill funds are allocations that are made to municipalities that can be used for maintaining, repairing, constructing or widening streets and public paths. The funds are distributed annually by the state.
The funding allocation is 75 percent determined by the basis of population and 25 percent on local street mileage.
Last year, the town spent $6,654 in funding that could be allocated by Powell bill funding and spent $5,936, according to Lansing Financial Clerk Beth Johnson.
“If we don’t use (the money), they stop sending it to us,” Little said. “We can’t keep saving it.”
Lansing Mayor George Rembert said the town needs to figure out how to use that funding and potentially increase the amount.
Little said smaller towns with a population less than 500 can save the money up to use for bigger projects, for example, repaving a road. The town at that point has to send in a letter of explanation as to why they are saving that money and the N.C. Department of Transportation has to approve the changes.
“If we can use Powell Bill funds that we have instead of town funds, it will help the town,” Little said.
Alderman Mauvene Shepherd read out a list of things the funds could potentially be used for including mowing and snow removal, and wondered why the town wasn’t already using the Powell Bill funds for those items.
“I just think we’ve been sitting on something here when we could have been using it the whole time,” she said.
Little said the people who grant the Powell Bill funds have the information on what roads are in the town and the roads which are town maintained. For example, Powell Bill funds could not be used for N.C. 194 through Lansing, since those are maintained by the N.C. DOT.
Rembert said the rules said the town could do work on the street rights-of-way, but said he was not aware of Lansing having any right-of-way, minus the town road.
Shepherd said the rules regarding the right-of-way in town were grandfathered in. The town will look into using the Powell Bill funds for mowing in the future.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.