Village Optimistic About Deal
Village of Pinehurst officials remain optimistic about plans to buy water treatment facilities in Wagram after a meeting with Scotland County and Laurinburg representatives Friday.
Assistant Village Manager Natalie Dean and Village Attor-ney Mike Newman discussed the purchase during a meeting Friday in Laurinburg with Scotland County Manager Kevin Patterson, Laurinburg City Manager Ed Burchins and Jim Perry of the Lumber River Council of Govern-ments.
Dean told The Pilot after the meeting that the village is interested in talking with Scotland County and Laurinburg leaders to hear their concerns and to gauge their interest in participating in a regional water solution.
"I'm very optimistic," she said. "Scotland County and Laurinburg both made it clear that they are interested in participating in a regional effort and recognize the importance of that. I'm optimistic that we will be able to get their approval for the sale. We want them to participate, and they want to participate."
The village reached an agreement in principle last month with the owners of the Westpoint-Pepperell facilities to buy the water treatment plant, wastewater treatment plant and intake line for $5.5 million. The deal is expected to be finalized by late October or early November.
The two plants are permitted to handle seven million gallons a day, but that capacity could expand to accommodate upwards of 17 million gallons. The plants are located about 30 miles from the village.
Though Pinehurst is the second-largest municipality in the county behind Southern Pines, its water and sewer systems are owned by the county.
The village has long maintained an interest in controlling the fate of its utilities. Councilman Jeff Dawson said after the deal was announced that the purchase protects the village's long-term water interests.
Though the village will own the facilities, it views them as a solution to the region's water concerns, and it has been speaking with other municipalities about forming a regional consortium.
Representatives from Southern Pines and Aberdeen have publicly expressed interest in the idea and reiterated that interest at a Water Task Force meeting Thursday, Dean said.
She added that representatives from Moore County were not present at that meeting.
Scotland County has requested that the village draft a letter of intent that says the two parties will work together and in conjunction with other interested municipalities and jurisdictions in accessing and utilizing the plants.
Dean said it was "exciting" to discuss some of the different alternatives that could play out under the scenario. "It's a great opportunity for the entire region," she said.
Because the village is a local government, Scotland County will have to approve the purchase of the real property since it lies within its jurisdiction. It will meet on Sept. 1, though it is unknown if it will consider the matter then.
"I'm very confident that we can give them the assurances of what they need by that meeting," she said.
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