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 Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Serving The Land Between the Lakes - Philpott and Smith Mountain News Search   


The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Proposal would give TLAC pump-out program oversight

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

The Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission (TLAC) may be taking over the Royal Flush Pump-Out program on Smith Mountain Lake.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal on Tuesday that could help make that happen.

According to information provided to the county, the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have had a memorandum of understanding to operate a septic pump-out boat and two trucks for land based pump-outs since 2001.

Grant funding of more than $6,500 through VDH has historically been used to pay for part of the service. Total operating costs are about $60,000 a year.

However, VDH no longer wishes to be involved in the program and wants to transfer assets and grant funding to a governmental entity.

The SMLA has proposed that TLAC take over the program, since that organization has the administrative, payroll and audit oversight already in place through the fiscal agent relationship it has with Bedford County.

The staff at TLAC is supportive of the proposal, according to information provided to the supervisors, and the only problem could be that future grant funding may or may not be in place.

But the SMLA has indicated it is willing to accept expenses not covered by the grant if TLAC will accept the administrative oversight and ownership.

The pump-out boat travels the main body of the lake to provide on-water services. Two pick-up trucks equipped with manual pump-out containers provide services to boats that are permanently docked.

The pump-out program was started to protect the quality of the lake water.

Ferrum College students have been hired in the past to work the boat and trucks.

Since the old boat is need of repair and VDH used a rental boat last year, the SMLA has proposed to enter into an agreement with VDH for the purchase of a new boat at a cost of $87,000.

Estimated grant funds will pay $65,250 of that with SMLA picking up tab for the rest.

If the proposal is approved by all three counties involved -- Franklin, Bedford and Pittsylvania -- a memorandum of understanding would need to be developed that protects the counties and assures them that the program will be fully funded by SMLA (without grant funds from VDH) for the next five years.

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