From the Mayor’s Desk…Lake Lure awarded $426,000 FEMA grant for dam project

I am pleased to report that the Town of Lake Lure is in the process of signing a work order with Schnabel Engineering to begin the Field Investigation for the Lake Lure Replacement Dam.  This work will include a geotechnical investigation and related field research within the proposed footprint of the replacement dam that is being planned.

The replacement dam will consist of a roller compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam constructed immediately downstream of the existing dam and designed to meet North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Dam Safety requirements. The Town has been preparing for this project since Town Council made the decision to replace the dam in 2021 and this is an important step forward toward this goal.  I am delighted to share that FEMA is providing a $426,000 grant to support this project.  This is one of four grants FEMA has provided to support the Lake Lure Dam replacement efforts and the Town is  continuing to apply for these grants for future dam related projects.

The Town has ordered 60” Jet Flow Valves that will serve as the reservoir drain.  The valves are being made specifically for the Lake Lure Dam and will allow the Town to drain the Lake down by 20 feet, if needed.  This is an emergency preparedness feature in the event the Lake needed to be lowered during a significant storm.  The valves are also a mechanism which will allow the Lake to be lowered in support of the sewer system replacement project which is currently underway. We anticipate installing the reservoir drain in the spring of 2024.  The cost of this construction project will come from capital reserves that are dedicated to the replacement of the Dam.

The next step in the sewer system replacement project will be the continuation of the work in Sunset Cove.  Last year ten boring sleeves were installed to house the future sewer pipes.  This year we are planning to add the gravity sewer lines and lateral connections to the boring pipes.  If time permits during the drawdown, there may be additional boring sleeves installed in the Sunset Cove area.  Funding for the sewer system replacement, as well as the replacement wastewater sewer plant, are both supported by funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) and a State Revolving Loan from the State of North Carolina.

In order to perform the sewer system placement work, the Town will need to drawdown the Lake for approximately 5 months. As always, Town Council is committed to maximizing the work that is being conducted during the drawdown. The plan is to begin lowering the Lake on 11/1/23 so that the sewer system replacement project may continue. The Lake will be drawn down at varying levels between 8 and 12 feet, depending on the needs of the contractors.  We anticipate beginning to refill the Lake on 3/31/24 to ensure Lake Lure is back within normal limits before the spring season begins.

Town Council has been working closely with the Town Manager, Finance Director, and Department Heads to establish a revenue neutral budget for the next Fiscal Year which begins 7/1/23.  Rutherford County conducted a property revaluation in 2022.  As a result of that revaluation, Lake Lure property values are estimated to have increased by 56.3 percent over previous valuations.  North Carolina General Statutes requires that the “revenue neutral” tax rate be stated as a part of this proposed budget message.  This revenue-neutral rate for the Town of Lake Lure is calculated at $0.3534 per $100 of property value. The Town has developed balanced budget which will be presented at a Public Hearing on 6/28/23. Following the Public Hearing, Town Council will consider adopting the budget.

The County has until the end of June 2023 to adopt a resolution that would postpone the current re-valuation.  If this happens, we will need to recalculate the expected ad valorem revenues for the upcoming year.  We will provide Budget updates as soon as the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Budget is finalized.

We continue to work diligently to prioritize the restoration of Lake Lure’s infrastructure. The public’s support of these complex and challenging projects is greatly appreciated. Town Council remains committed to working to preserve Lake Lure for future generations.  Please stay tuned to the Town News on the website for further updates.

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