Pilot Light: Center Awards Water Grants
Two Moore County water projects are receiving financial help from the state's Rural Economic Development Center.
State Rep. Joe Boylan has announced that a $650,000 grant will help with infrastructure at a new development near Foxfire. He said another $20,000 grant will help Robbins conduct a badly needed water study.
The $650,000 grant for water and infrastructure will help a Florida-based Stonehill Pines build a golf course development on some 1,442 acres that it bought in March at a cost of nearly $20 million.
"The center says the purpose of this kind of grant is for water and waste projects that lead directly to job creation in the private sector," Boylan said in a telephone interview Thursday. "Dollar amounts in these kinds of Rural Center grants are generated by a formula that is based on how many jobs the center estimates any given project will create."
Robbins is receiving a Clean Water Partner's Infrastructure Grant of $20,000.
Town Manager Brant Sikes said he has been trying to find out how the town has almost half its water unaccounted for, looking at under-performing or nonregistering meters, illegal taps, leaky pipes and other targets. The town received $400,000 in another grant two months ago to help with that.
This $20,000 water capacity evaluation will help Robbins with the cost of a technical study to assess the current state of its treatment plant and develop short- and long-term goals to restart the water plant at a reasonable cost level.
"We are thrilled that we have it," Mayor Theron Bell said. "It is a planning grant to help us with our water problems. Our manager has been working diligently on this. We have an excellent manager that has done a wonderful job, and we are very thankful to the Rural Center for their help."
CHARTER -- A bill that would allow the village of Whispering Pines to amend its charter and move to a council-manager form of government passed the state House Thursday.
The bill could go before the Senate as early as next week.
The village began exploring the option of moving to the new form of government in December. The village currently has a mayor-council form of government.
Duties and powers of a village manager are set by the state, not by individual municipalities or councils. The new form of government would allow council members to do more planning for the village, leaving the hiring and firing of employees as well as other day-to-day operations of the village to the manager.
Currently the village is interviewing candidates for the position.
MEETING CHANGE -- The June 24 regular meeting of the Pinehurst Village Council will be held at 1 p.m. in the council conference room.
The meeting was moved from Assembly Hall to accommodate a second primary for the Democratic candidates for the N.C. Commissioner of Labor.
TRASH -- Moore County is renewing its third and final additional five-year contract with Republic Services of North Carolina, the firm that disposes of the county's solid waste.
The Board of Commissioners approved the agreement earlier this month.
Effective July 1, the new agreement requires a transportation and disposal rate of $40.96 per ton, including the Consumer Price Index adjustment of 4.6 percent, $2 per ton solid waste disposal tax and 75 cents per ton for additional cost as allowed in Senate Bill 1492. The contract allows only these annual increases.
Public Works Director Dennis Brobst told the commissioners that a review of the fees charged by similar facilities indicates "these rates are very competitive."
The county has contracted these services since 1993, when the county officially closed its solid waste landfill.
Republic Services was formerly known as Addington Environmental and before that as Uwharrie Environmental. It owns and operates a lined sanitary landfill in Montgomery County. The fees include operation and maintenance of a transfer station, where county and municipal solid waste is taken for transport to the Troy facility, and also transportation from Moore County to Montgomery County.
The landfill now operated by the county accepts only construction and demolition materials, including yard debris. The county is legally prohibited from accepting household garbage and other solid waste.
EAST MOORE -- The environmental assessment for Phase II of the East Moore Water District is being amended to reduce a projected increase by $722,324.
Sitting as the East Moore District Board, the Moore County Board of Commissioners approved the amendment earlier this month and authorized the chairman to sign a letter of intent and agree to mitigation measures.
Brobst said that the original environmental assessment indicated that all streams would be crossed by directional drilling or bore and jack, but during construction rock was encountered at seven sites, a factor that increased the cost substantially. Brobst reported that an open cut alternative was found that saves about $722,324. He said his office has already received approval from the Corps of Engineers to open cut these small streams but the U.S. Department of Agriculture also requires an amendment to the environmental assessment.
Under the change order, the cost is not to exceed $219,456, to be drawn from the East Moore Water District contingency fund.
The East Moore Water District is being financed through grants and low-interest loans from USDA, along with tap fees and user fees paid by East Moore water customers.
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