Council, Embassy make transfer of library

May. 14, 2013 @ 05:52 PM

The Henderson City Council approved on Monday a foundation’s plan to return ownership of Perry Memorial Library to Henderson and begin construction on a performing arts center next door.

The council also funded an engineering report for solving a sewer system bottleneck, approved a $288,000 radio meter-reader contract and renewed the outside lawn watering credit for 2013.

The council also approved water extension arrangements for Vance-Granville Community College at one end of the county and a small area into Warren County on the other.

John Wester, chairman of the of the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, said that the plans for the stage and seating auditorium will accommodate nearly 1,000 theater patrons, or a smaller crowd in a setting designed to be a comfortable fit for less.

“Although it is a thousand, it will be equally homey at 300.” Wester said. “We believe it will be the best fit for all our anticipated uses.”

Wester expects construction to begin in the late summer, and the hope is for a 14-month build.

As part of the agreement that the council approved, the City of Henderson will own the library building free and clear of any debt, and have usage rights to a new performing arts center under the ownership of the Embassy foundation when built.

City Attorney John Zollicoffer Jr., outlined for the council the relationship between the city and Embassy foundation that led to Monday’s decision.

The foundation was able to raise funds and incur debt to provide for the library’s construction, and part of the agreement was for debts to be paid before properties reverted to city ownership.

“That portion of the agreement has been accomplished,” Zollicoffer said.

Under the new agreement, the foundation would retain ownership of the performing arts center, and would be responsible for it.

“That would be maintained and operated strictly by the foundation,” Zollicoffer said.

Also among the main points of the agreement are easement provisions that would allow city use of the lobby currently known as McGregor Hall as the library entrance, performing arts center use of a closet on the library side of the hall and both entities use of the parking areas associated with the facilities.

The performing arts center will be known as McGregor Hall, the lobby will not have a name and the facility will be known as Breckenridge Commons.

The council approved adding a water service extension of 540 linear feet built to serve a school expansion at VGCC that the city confirmed was built according to construction standards with a one-year warranty.

They also approved a request by water partner Vance County that amends their water deal contract so the county can build 2,500 linear feet into a Warren County community.

Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier said that Vance County is to pay for construction and own the line.

“They have tentatively agreed to extend the line about 2,500 feet down Tower Road,” Frazier said.

In other business:

• Council members voted in favor of a $19,300 contract for McGill Associates to conduct an engineering report for a sewer outfall project in the area of Elmwood Cemetery as part of a $1.8 million funding plan for solving a sewer flow bottleneck problem there.

• The council agreed to purchase 1,300 Neptune brand radio-read water meters from Sole Source for $293,879 total. The purchase will be funded by a 20-year, zero-percent loan approved for $294,000. It is the next step in a campaign already replacing meters with more than 2,000 Neptune brand models as an old-system is replaced by a new that uses meter-reading technology by radio.

• The William L. Stark and Company auditors are contracted for auditing city accounts from the fiscal year 2013 as it draws to a close June 30. The council agreed to pay $41,550 for the work. Stark gave an unqualified report, the best category possible, for the city’s 2012 fiscal year finances.

• Henderson will provide sewer-bill credit again for residential outside watering from June 1 through Oct. 31. Reasoning for the credit is that the water used outside on lawns and gardens is not returned into the sewer system, so the extra use during watering months should not be charged. Specific rules are provided for customers to claim the credit.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.