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Incoming USDA funding to help with city projects

Walterboro City Council is expected to approve the city receiving some new USDA grant funding that will buy new police vehicles and will also help to install handicap bathrooms for city buildings.

City Council met in a special-called meeting on Tuesday night. In that meeting, council was set to review and approve three resolutions. All three resolutions are pertaining to the city receiving separate USDA Rural Development Community facilities Grants.

Broken down, one of the grants, in the amount of $45,000, is expected to help pay for a handicap accessibility equipment at the new City Hall Annex building.

The second resolution would allow the city to receive a second USDA grant for $49,800. These funds will purchase new police vehicles for the Walterboro Police Department. These new vehicles are in addition to the police department’s already-approved budget for the incoming 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to officials in the city’s finance department.

The third resolution that city council was set to approve on Tuesday is about the city receiving a third set of USDA funding for $49,900. This money is slated to purchase a generator and to install a handicap-friendly restroom in the incoming Discovery Center.

The new Discovery Center is currently under construction and will serve as the educational and retail headquarters for the city’s Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the city’s more than 800-acre swamp that sits near the heart of the city. It includes walking and biking trails, and is a recreational attraction. The new Discovery Center will teach people about the sanctuary’s native plants and animals. It will also feature an outdoor amphitheater, its own parking area, potential retail space and more information on the city.

Because the meeting occurred after this newspaper’s print deadline, an actual voting result from council could not be included in this article. Updates from the meeting will be posted on this newspaper’s social media sites, and additional information will be published in upcoming issues of this newspaper.

According to officials in the city’s Finance Department, these USDA grants do require a matching financial obligation from the city. These financial obligations will be included in the city’s operating budget for the next fiscal year, in the 2019-2020 budget process.

Because of this financial obligation from the city, the police cars are projected to cost a total of $93,332. The City Hall Annex wheelchair-accessibility project comes at a total projected cost of $83,138, and the Discovery Center projects are anticipated to cost about $91,000, as stated in documents provided by the city’s managerial office.

Heather Walters (1494 Posts)