North West Bonds Extended
Moore County has an additional three years to develop a public water system for the northwestern part of the county.
An April 19 action by the board of commissioners means that the May 2004 referendum authorizing $16 million in bonds for the North West Moore Water District is extended until 2014.
The public hearing on April 19 attracted only one speaker, Doug Middaugh, of Pinehurst, who voiced opposition to use of the bonds for any purpose other than the original intention of the bond issue.
Middaugh said he supports a water district for North West Moore and any secondary service that would extend water lines to Seven Lakes. However, the original intent was to establish a water district within the Ritter, Bensalem, Deep River and Sheffield townships, and he said “that intent now appears to be drastically changed.”
He was referring to recently mentioned proposals to serve Seven Lakes by running water lines from the North West Moore Water District if and when the district is formed. The bond referendum approved by district voters in 2004 authorizes the county to issue up to $16 million in bonds to build the water system.
The original intention was to set up a water district in those townships similar to the successful East Moore Water District, now in its third phase of development.
As was the case in East Moore, the county was to apply for low-interest loans from the rural development unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay for construction. The debt would be paid off through user fees.
Unlike East Moore, the residents of North West Moore did not respond in large enough numbers for the district to get off the ground. The bond authority from the 2004 referendum would have expired in May without an extension of the referendum issue.
Before calling the hearing, the county secured approval for the extension from the Local Government Commission.
The county is considering options for enhancing water service to Seven Lakes, which is part of the county utility system. One idea would allow the North West Moore district to serve Seven Lakes, the county’s largest residential development.
Nevertheless, the hearing focused entirely on extension of the bonds authorized in the 2004 referendum.
“All we’re doing is extending the original bond order from the referendum,” Commissioner Tim Lea said before the board took its unanimous vote. “No other action is involved.”
In other business, the commissioners agreed to revise the public utilities project ordinance covering $9.2 million in improvements in Pinehurst.
Public Works Director Dennis Brobst said the revision was needed because the Old Town sewer rehabilitation and Lake Pinehurst sewer rehabilitation projects are being combined for auditing purposes. He said that one engineering contract will be awarded for both projects and once bids are received and reviewed, one construction contract will be awarded.
The Old Town and Lake Pinehurst sewer improvements are among four projects covered in the county’s issuance of limited obligation bonds in 2010.
The other projects are construction of a water tank and purchase of radio read meters. The bonds will be paid off by Pinehurst utility customers.
Although these bonds are part of an overall issuance approved last year by the board, they are separate from the $32 million in bonds issued to pay for a public safety-detention center complex in Carthage, to be paid off by county taxpayers.
The commissioners voted 4-1 not to dissolve the Government Center Committee appointed in 2008 to advise the commissioners about a county government office building.
Lea’s motion to dissolve the committee failed for lack of a second. Commissioner Jimmy Melton made the motion to leave the committee in place, and Commissioner Craig Kennedy made the second. Lea cast the dissenting vote on the final motion.
Lea argued that the board has voted not to place the office building on the same tract with the public safety-detention center and thus the committee is not needed at this time. He said the board could appoint a new committee when the time comes to plan the office facility.
Melton said the same purpose would be served by retaining the present committee.
The commissioners agreed to call a public hearing for the May 3 meeting to receive comment on the Targeted Transit Assistance Program grant application. The grant is sought by Moore County Transportation Services.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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