Settlement terms reveal Stanly’s cut

Published 11:04 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stanly County stands to gain in revenue and water from Norwood’s Lake Tillery deal with Union County Public Works.

Terms of this month’s settlement in the lawsuit Stanly filed last year against Norwood and UCPW will net financial compensation and future water supply for county taxpayers. Payments are scheduled to come in various ways whereas Stanly will also receive 1.5 million gallons daily (MGD) of water from the deal between Norwood and UCPW.

In terms of monetary compensation, Union must pay Stanly $50,000 annually up to $150,000 at the conclusion of all litigation related to the inter-basin transfer (IBT) granted to Union for the draw of 23 MGD of water from Lake Tillery, or the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin.

UCPW will also pay Stanly 5 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water transmitted to Union County from Tillery.

Union must reimburse Stanly for its legal fees related to the lawsuit up to a maximum of $500,000. Estimates show Stanly is projected to narrowly eclipse the maximum threshold.

As for lost property taxes, Union agreed to pay Stanly $41,140, which is the estimated value for 30 years of Stanly’s lost ad valorem revenue with the raw intake site in Norwood. Before the property became a municipal site for intake, the property was a lakeside private residence that generated an annual property tax.

Stanly will receive compensation for future ad valorem payments in the event Union and Norwood acquire county properties for infrastructure related to the transmission of water.

Union agreed to pay up to $300,000 for Stanly’s long-term water use studies regarding its water utilities.

By comparison, Stanly appears to fare as well financially as Norwood in the deal with UCPW.

Union has already paid Norwood $500,000, which included a $150,000 payment in 2013 and annual installments of $75,000 from 2014-18. Payments are scheduled to be capped at $1 million.

Once operational the contract between Norwood and UCPW calls for Union to pay Norwood 5 cents per 1,000 gallons of water on a monthly basis.

However, UCPW funded the water intake infrastructure for Norwood’s mutual benefit.

In terms of water supply to Stanly, Union agreed to make design provisions to accommodate up to 1.5 MGD of raw water for Stanly’s use. Norwood will then pump the 1.5 MGD of raw water to a connection point constructed at the expense of Stanly County. Or, it could call for Norwood to treat the raw water at its treatment plant and deliver the finished product to Stanly. Both Stanly and Norwood would be required to negotiate a financial agreement for the respective option.

Use of the water is restricted. Neither Stanly nor any third party to which Stanly sells water will be allowed to use or sell the water, raw or finished.

Per the agreement Stanly must cooperate with UCPW and Norwood with securing various permits and easement acquisitions. However, Stanly will not bear any financial burden with further litigation. That burden befalls Union County.

More legal challenges await UCPW and Norwood. Montgomery County and the Yadkin Riverkeeper are challenging the state’s decision to issue the IBT.

Contact Ritchie Starnes at 704-754-5076 or