Board adds to water project despite concerns

Vance expands utility's scope with $1M infusion
Jul. 07, 2014 @ 10:02 PM

Before county commissioners approved adding roads to the water project at a cost of $1 million, they posed plenty of questions to staff about current construction.

At the Vance County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday, the board spent more than an hour interrogating engineer Tim Carpenter of LKC Engineering and project engineer Tony Patnode of Hobbs Upchurch Associates about design and inspection issues in phases 1 and 2.

Commissioner Dan Brummitt said he's heard of issues on many roads where pipes were constructed differently than their original design. He said he wanted to know why that happened.

Patnode said he was working on finding out.

As Phase 1 construction draws to a close, the county is projected to have more than $500,000 in grant money left over.

Commissioner Terry Garrison asked whether staff would try to use the funds to extend pipe construction down Rock Mill Road or carry the funds into Phase 2 construction.

"If it's doable, let's do it," he said.

Jordan McMillen, deputy county manager and planning director, said he would get with engineers and bring the board pricing for the extension.

Chairwoman Deborah Brown said she was disappointed with poor planning in design and execution of the project's construction.

She raised issues of the changing flat rates — currently at about $30, about $10 originally proposed — and the month-long holdup on Hicksboro Road because of rock excavation, the digging out the rock and replacing it with soil for pipe could be laid there.

She said the board should have requested more information before approving the project.

"Now we are faced with all these issues," Brown said. "We do not have county water; we have water in selected areas."

Brown asked the water planning board to look into these concerns before the next full board meeting next month.

The board unanimously approved Carpenter's request to design the 12 road additions — with about $80,000 in additional design costs and about a $1 million increase to the endeavor's budget, which will add about 5 miles of pipe to the project.

McMillen said the additions would mean 80 extra signups for Phase 2A and 93 in Phase 2B.

The board approved bond assurances totaling $5.6 million dollars to close on loan funds that start repayment for Phase 1A debts.

The first payment will be made June 2015.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a closeout of the Community Development Block Grant Scattered Site program, which repairs homes for low-income owners using federal grants.

The program, administered through the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, lost its designated funding to fix homes in Vance County.

Karen Foster, community development planner for Kerr-Tar, asked the board to change owner repayments for services offered from the current county's standard of 15 years to 8 years. She said it would help the county keep track of the debts, considering Kerr-Tar would no longer have the funding to do so.

Brummitt said he was unsure it was a wise idea, considering it would decrease the amount of time homeowners have to pay off debt.

The board approved the recommendation 6-2, with Brummitt and commissioner Gordon Wilder opposing.

During the meeting, the board also:

• Reappointed chairwoman Nancy Williams for a one-year term and member Jerry Stainback for a three-year term on the Vance County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

• Approved staff's pursuit of federal anti-gang grant funding of up to $200,000 for the Vance County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

• Approved non-residential and commercial yard waste facility fee of $40 per ton starting Sept. 1.

• Heard an update from Tracy Madigan, Vance County Regional Farmers Market manager, who said the farmers market is averaging about 200 people each event since it opened about a month ago.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.