County Moves to Help West End Community with Water
By JOHN LENTZ
Moore County officials will pursue grant funding to provide a water line to residents of the Edgewood Terrace community having trouble with their wells.
Earlier this month, members of the Edgewood Terrace community of West End asked the county for help in obtaining a hookup to the county water supply. After county public works officials met twice with residents, the county's board of commissioners voted on Tuesday to move forward with grant funding to provide county water to the community.
Public Works Director Randy Gould presented two possible solutions to the problem.
"The first option is to extend a county water line for the entire road at an estimated construction cost of $131,420," he told the board. "The second is to extend a county water line to only a portion of the road that serves residents who are having problems with their wells."
The estimated cost for the second option is $69,210.
"There are 39 lots in total, and one is hooked up to county water already," Gould said. "Of the other 38, a total of 30 lot owners signed a petition to be connected to county water. Due to the cost, many ended up taking their names off the petition before the grant option was recognized."
Gould said grants are available from several sources, including one from the North Carolina Rural Development Center that would pay for 90 percent of the project. If implemented, each lot owner would still be required to pay a tap fee of $1,900.
The problem, residents say, is that separating the community into north and south sections discriminates against those who want county water but who are not currently experiencing problems.
Edgewood Terrace resident Van Cole said the issue was causing "friction" in the community due to misinformation.
"I have lived here for 50 years and have never seen conflict like I am seeing now," he said. "The first meeting with public works was a fiasco, and it went downhill from there. As far as offering water service to only a part of the community, all should be treated equally. If that is not done, the county commissioners will have contributed to the friction in Edgewood Terrace."
Commissioner Tim Lea asked Gould what the earliest completion date would be if the process began "today."
"It could take until next spring to get pipes laid and water running to the community," Gould said.
The board then unanimously passed a motion to submit a grant application to the North Carolina Rural Development Center.
"These people need help," said Commissioners' Chair-man Larry Caddell. "Let's do a full court press and get this done."
In other action Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a contract to purchase portable, mobile and pager radio equipment from the Motorola Solutions-Amerizon Wireless company for up to $3.1 million. The equipment will be used when emergency workers transition to the VIPER (Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders) communication system, which will connect fire, rescue, ambulance and law enforcement units throughout the county.
"After considerable study, staff recommended that Moore County pursue the use of VIPER to meet the FCC's mandated narrow banding equipment," said Public Safety Director Bryan Phillips. "It was determined that VIPER is the most cost-effective solution for meeting the mandate, maintaining at least as good coverage as the current system, and adding to the benefit of interoperability among users and nearby agencies."
The board approved the use of VIPER in Moore County earlier this year.
Michael Basham, of EF Johnson Technologies, spoke to the board prior to the vote.
"I was surprised to see the state contract on the agenda for tonight, since I thought you were going to competitive bidding," he said. "We can beat Motorola's price by 15 percent."
But Neil Godfrey, chief deputy of the Moore County Sheriff's Office, said EF Johnson radios had been tested.
"There were places where the EF Johnson radios didn't work but Motorolas did," he said.
The board also approved a pair of change orders in connection with the D.H. Griffin construction contract for the new public safety and detention center that commissioners said would save the county a "considerable amount" of money.
"These change orders will save the county approximately $400,000," said County Manager Cary McSwain.
Caddell implied that the $400,000 was only a part of the savings.
"There's no telling what (Property Management Director) Rich Smith saved us," he said.
Near the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting, Caddell congratulated County Clerk Laura Williams for obtaining the Certified Municipal Clerk designation.
"I'd really hate to have to do this job without her here," Caddell said.
Williams thanked the board for their support.
"I'm really honored to have this," she said. "I did course work through the UNC School of Government toward earning certification, and I will have to maintain the license from time to time with additional coursework. It's been helpful to interact with other clerks while going through this process."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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