Commissioners to urge Duke Energy to act

Board plans to pass resolution pushing Duke to clean up river
May. 03, 2014 @ 09:30 PM

At Monday’s board meeting, Vance County commissioners are scheduled to pass a resolution urging Duke Energy to clean up coal ash in the Dan River and to ensure contamination doesn’t happen again.

The resolution takes the energy giant to task for the Feb. 2 rupture of its coal combustion waste impoundment — more often called a coal ash pond — near the Dan River Power Station in Eden.

The Dan eventually flows into Kerr Lake, which provides drinking water to about 60,000 customers in Henderson, Warren County and Oxford, which make up the Kerr Lake Regional Water System partners.

The resolution notes the toxic chemicals found in coal ash and the potential health and environmental concerns caused not only by the spill but also by the other unlined coal ash ponds Duke has throughout the state.

As a result, the resolution states Duke Energy should move all of its coal ash from unlined ponds to other more appropriate facilities sited away from waterways — especially those that provide drinking water — to prevent it from happening again.

Commissioners will also begin discussion of the county manager’s proposed budget at Monday’s meeting.

County Manager Jerry Ayscue will present the preliminary budget, which begins the process of public hearings and work sessions.

“I can expect that they will start meeting a night or two to start working on the budget,” he said.

Commissioners will also debate abolishing the residential ramp permit fee, which applies when people want to build handicapped-accessible ramps on their homes.

Currently, permit holders are charged a $60 zoning fee and a $55 inspections fee.

“I am proposing that we eliminate that zoning fee to make it more affordable for elderly and special needs individuals,” Ayscue said.

The board will convene as Board of Equalization and Review and hear six property tax appeal cases. Any others wishing to be heard can attend.

Committee members will present their recommendations as well. This will include the intergovernmental committee recommendation to consider the city council’s request to take over the Recreation and Parks Department, which is currently jointly administered by Henderson and the county with the city taking the lead. At the city council’s April 14 meeting, board members discussed potentially shifting the balance so the county would provide a majority of the department’s funding.

Commissioners will also meet as the Vance County Water District Board to hear a Phase 2 construction update and Envirolink monthly report.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.