Stanly commissioners receive updates on capital projects

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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At the Stanly County Board of Commissioners retreat, Utilities Director Duane Wingo presented an capital projects update to the board.

Wingo spoke first about the $32.4 million for the West Stanly Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWPT) expansion project.

The project includes a 1.5 million gallons per day (MGD) clarifier and a 3 million gallon equalization tank. A cloth filter disk for tertiary treatment structure is another component of the project.

New large diameter force mains from the McCoy Pump Station to the WWTP, and from the WWTP to the Rocky River discharge, will also be added, along with a lab building upfit, a repurposing of the old clarifier and aeration basins into digestors, and wet well and pump upgrades at the McCoy station.

Land acquisition negotiations are continuing, Wingo said, and will be discussed at the next closed session meeting of the board.

Vice chairman Mike Barbee asked where the money for the project comes from. While Wingo said some is from system development fees, the majority will be financed with a 40-year loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Barbee said he “didn’t want to get too far behind the 8-ball” about payments, mentioning impact on taxpayers. Wingo said it is enterprise fund, which is more about rate payers than taxpayers.

When asked by Chairman Bill Lawhon about how much the county has collected in system development fees so far, Finance Director Toby Hinson said it was approximately $1 million.

Funding from ARPA will also pay for the $1.75 million Meadow Creek Church Road water main extension to the Locust Town Center. State Utility Contractors of Monroe came in with the low bid at $1.8 million.

“The bigger issue,” Wingo said, was with the Stony Gap Road water main extension from U.S. Highway 52 to N.C. Highway 24-27/73, also with ARPA funds. Chambers Engineering has designed the extension and all easements have been obtained. State Utility came in with the lowest bid of $3.34 million for the project.

A $1.2 million budget cost for the Richfield sewer collection system includes putting a grinder into the Bell Road Pump Station. Construction is scheduled to start in April if the bid is approved in March by commissioners.

Another part are the Stanly County SWSA Phase 4 water mains, including 31 miles of 12-inch, 8- and 6-inch water main extensions east of Albemarle on Sweet Home Church Road, Valley Drive, N.C. 740, Tower Drive and others.

More than 140 easements were needed at the beginning of the project, with 29 currently left to secure. Wingo said the project is scheduled to start this summer.

The county changed real estate acquisition firms from Professional Property Services to TELICS (Telecommunication & Industrial Consulting Services Corporation with Integrity). Wingo said the change was because “finally it got to the point where we just didn’t feel they were performing what they were supposed to do.”

According to Wingo, once all the easements are obtained, the county will renegotiate the grant to loan factor once bidding is completed.

Another project is the Badin Capital Asset Grant for an infiltration and inflow (I and I) study. The $187,500 study, funded completely by a North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality grant, was awarded to Chambers Engineering. The entire sewer system will get a smoke test, along with examining problem areas with a CCTV system.

Wingo said the biggest part of the study was a sewer collection system map update for the county’s GIS system.

The county is also working with Chambers Engineering for a comprehensive sewer master plan, funded by a NCDEQ grant.

Much of the focus, Wingo said, would be collection in Oakboro, Stanfield and Locust, with a secondary focus on additional sewer service on U.S. 52 North and in Palestine, Badin and Red Cross. A tertiary focus would be Piney Point and the eastern part of the county.

Wingo said the plan hopefully would be presented to commissioners this summer.

A total of $100,000 has been allocated in the budget, funded by a NCDEQ grant, for a merger and acquisition grant with the city of Locust, which could mean an additional $500,000 to $1 million in revenue for the county.

Another grant fully funded by NCDEQ deals with a merger and acquisition with Norwood.

“When we do this, we want to go in with our eyes wide open,” County Manager Andy Lucas said about a merger and acquisition with Norwood.

The final project Wingo presented was a $650,000 one, funded by a loan from the general fund, for Hersey meter replacements. The meters arrived in December 2023 with the change starting a month ago. Currently, the project should be finished in 14 months.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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