elkintribune.com

East Bend water deal approved by county

Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter

September 18, 2013

Yadkin commissioners approved a water services agreement with East Bend, allowing the town to buy water from the county.


The commissioners voted 5-0 Sept. 16 to approve the agreement following several years of negotiations with the town and Winston-Salem, from whom the water is initially purchased.


The water is then sold to East Bend from Yadkin County.


The agreement is essentially the same as the one signed by Yadkin County with Winston-Salem to initially purchase the water.


Some differences were made between the county and East Bend.


“However, our cost to them [East Bend]… is $10.70 per 1,000 gallons, and that is a little bit more than what we’re paying Winston-Salem,” County Manager Aaron Church told the board. “So it covers our initial cost of the water and some of the debt that the county will incur, if it chooses to, to make this line happen.”


The county will purchase and install the starting meter between the Church said. Church told The Ripple the meter is technically called the “bulk master meter” and is the primary meter between the county and the town.


He said this was normally a cost the buyer picked up, and while it was not a large sum it would have been a lot for a small town to pay.


He likened the purchase to the county having to buy several ambulances.


The county will also provide back-flow prevention on the seller’s [East Bend’s] line, also something the town would normally have been responsible for.


The deal will last for twenty years and begins four years from the date it is signed.


Church said it was essentially the last milestone in a deal that had been in the works for several years, and that the deal had been approved by East Bend already.


Radio system bid


The board approved a bid to Communications International for a public safety radio system by a 5-0 vote.


A speaker phone was brought in and the county’s consultant on the project, Ric Martin of Federal Engineering, was called.


Church said the call allowed the county to shave off $1,000 by not requiring Martin to appear in person.


A microphone was placed next to the speaker and allowed the board to talk to the consultant.


The system would allow the system to be made narrowband-compliant.


“Narrowbanding” is a plan from 1992 by the Federal Communications Commission. The term is a technical term for increasing the spectrum of radio frequencies, and allows for clearer communication and less traffic on the same frequency.


Two other bids were received, but CI eventually won the bid following their submission.


A separate item was also mistakenly on the board action agenda. Church said the approval of a radio site repair contract for a tower in East Bend should have been on the consent agenda but he covered it anyway.


The tower was struck by lightning, something Church said was relatively common. He said the insurance company should cover it as the deductible is $1,000.


EMS building


The board approved a new pre-engineered steel building for the county EMS to use by a vote of 5-0.


The building will store the ambulances for the unit beside the hospital, Church said.


Informal bids led to J.F. Garrison & Son being awarded the project. The capital outlay money was set around $200-220,000, but the Garrison bid came in around $50,000 under that.


Church and the EMS’s Keith Vestal said the building was painted in such a way to make it almost unnoticeable.


Sales tax


A woman questioned the board about an article in last week’s Ripple concerning the sales tax referendum the board voted to place on the November ballot.


Ann Shelton Black said during the public comment period of the commissioners’ meeting that she was upset by remarks Republican Party chairman Bodie Wingler made in an August meeting.


Wingler said the increased sales tax would allow non-property owners to pay into the county and possibly lower property taxes for others.


Black said she had owner property in Yadkin up until two years ago, but now rents. She assured the board that, while she may not pay the taxes, her landlord got the money from her to pay property taxes. She resented the insinuation that she did not pay her share of the tax burden.


She told the board that she did not disagree with the tax - if commissioners could explain what they intended to do with it clearly. She also asked why there was no public hearing before the board approved the referendum.


Commissioner Frank Zachary distanced the board and himself from Wingler’s comments. He told her Wingler’s comments were his own.


Chairman Kevin Austin told Black that it was impossible to say what the money would be used for, but said if the money was unused it would be returned through property tax reductions.


He also said the board had not held a public hearing because no hearing was required. A hearing is only required if the referendum passes in November. Then the board would hold a hearing prior to the tax being levied.


To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.