Last updated: January 31. 2014 11:46AM - 1089 Views
By - aworrell@civitasmedia.com

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The Carroll County Public Service Authority (PSA) approved water bids for a water project in Lambsburg and elected to add a portable generator and add water service to three streets in Fancy Gap during its Jan. 13 meeting.

PSA Executive Director Gary Larrowe said water bids were received in December for the water project off Interstate 77’s Exit 1 in Lambsburg. The line work and water storage tank portion of the contract were already submitted to the Authority, he said. He also made a recommendation to add a SCADA system to the project since the county is under restriction from the City of Mount Airy, N.C. over the next eight years to only pull 10,000 gallons per day from the water tank.

Larrowe said the total budget for the project is $2,139,000, but the contingency for the project is short at $8,645. He said the PSA is trying to find if other funds could be made available to the project through federal funding agency Rural Development. If not, he said the PSA should accept the low bid with the contingency being that low.

Larrowe said about $91,000 of interest has been accrued on the project, plus the PSA owes another interest payment of about $50,000 for an interim loan.

“Then we would add on the SCADA system we are talking about additional funding of up to or less than $185,000 if you choose to do that,” Larrowe said. “That way we could find out if we could move forward on the project or not based upon the information that Rural Development gives us.”

Larrowe said the PSA could go ahead and approve the original $2,139,000 project so the project would close. Then, if the Authority is able, it could add the $185,000 if the chairman chooses to do so.

PSA member David Hutchins made a motion to award the bid and to authorize the chairman or vice chairman to pursue the additional funding as necessary.

“I think it’s encouraging we have the SCADA system. I think in any of the lines, if we don’t put it in we are remiss. It is a potential huge maintenance and dollars savings,” Hutchins said. “The additional cost is minimal based on the outcome in savings.”

PSA member Dr. Tom Littrell seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

In December, Kevin Heath told the PSA there is nearly $250,000 left from the Fancy Gap water project. One suggestion he made for those grant funds would be to request to purchase a portable generator large enough to service any of the PSA’s water pump stations. Another was to look at adding more water lines to the community.

Larrowe revisited the topic Jan. 13, saying the PSA compiled a list of streets that signed up for water service that could potentially be extended with the leftover dollars. He said three streets fit the criteria, Chris Street, Devo Street and Foggy Ridge Lane. Larrowe said the Authority also looked at Sky View Drive as a possibility, but it is fairly long and there would not be enough funds. Lightning Ridge Road, Stonewall Road, Colonial Drive and Plains Lane were also looked at, he said, but each presented a specific problem.

“If we had a portable generator of approximately $80,000, plus the potential of Chris Street, Devo Street and Foggy Ridge Lane, that would more than likely use up those funds that were available, then we could see where we were at that point,” Larrowe said. “That would be the recommendation for Fancy Gap water.”

Hutchins said the services the PSA provide are all dependent on energy to operate the equipment. If a bad storm knocks out electricity for hours or days, there will be people who need the utilities.

“I think we seriously need to look at a generator. I think it would serve here, but it could be served if we had another part of the county that was out,” Hutchins said. “When we look at our systems, we look at the Fancy Gap water, and while it is funded that way, Rural Development looks at it as Carroll County has a water system. Although it is funded as a piece of Fancy Gap, it could be regional water as far as they are concerned in one respect. Regardless, if we don’t have water in other areas or if we can’t get the water for other areas, then our whole system will soon shrink up and die because we won’t have anything going in the pipes.”

With that, Hutchins made a motion to use the funds to purchase a portable generator, dependent upon Rural Development approval, as well as water lines to Chris Street, Devo Street and Foggy Ridge Lane.

“I believe we would be foolish not to do it,” Hutchins said.

Light asked if the money could possibly be used to serve more businesses. Chairman Sam Dickson said he believed all businesses in the area were already being served. PSA member William Payne seconded Hutchins’ motion.

“I just want to make sure we spend it in the best places. And the generator, I agree, it is a no brainer. Some may say no, but I think we use that as a selling point for water,” Light said. “When people get public water they think no matter what the weather is we are going to have water. It would be very bad if it came an ice storm and went for two weeks and everybody ran out of water. They need to be bragging on the reliability of the water system.”

As far as the water lines, Light said he wanted to make PSA staff to make sure all odds and ends were done on the other portions of the project.

The motion then passed unanimously.

Allen Worrell may be reached at 276-728-7311 or on Twitter @AWorrellTCN.

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