ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (October 9, 2019) – The Bethlehem sewer project is moving forward as the plans received final approval from the state on Monday, October 7, according to Dan Shabeldeen of Shabeldeen Engineering who presented an update on the sewer project at the regular meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners.
With state approval of the plans, Shabeldeen said the project can be put out for bids in the next week or so, with a bid period of 30 days, and a bid opening in mid-November. He estimates that it will take approximately one week to review the bids, and commissioners could award the bid at their December meeting. Shabeldeen said the bid information would then be submitted to the state for approval, and hopefully, the project would be ready to proceed in mid-January 2020. Once underway, the sewer project is expected to be completed in approximately 500 days.
Shabeldeen said this sewer project is very complicated with the determination of routes, location of pump stations, and manhole depth and their proximity to roadways.
The cost estimate for the project was $5,294,915; however, the most recent estimate submitted by Shabeldeen Engineering increased by $907,050 to a total of $6,201,965.
Commissioner Larry Yoder expressed his concern about the significant increase, noting that it will take 1,200 sewer customers to pay the annual debt service payment of approximately $300,000. The county currently has 375 sewer customers.
Commissioner Ryan Mayberry said the board established a sewer committee several years ago which met with engineers about the project. He said the project cost was estimated by a previous engineering firm, and costs have risen since that time.
Shabeldeen said a significant portion of the increase is due to the Heritage Village pump station upgrade, as well as DOT requirements of boring under the roads and rock excavation.
Commissioners unanimously approved the $907,050 budget amendment.
In other business:
• A public hearing was held to introduce a draft of the Alexander County Special Events Ordinance, and to receive input from the public. The purpose of the special events ordinance is to establish a structured process for permitting the staging of special planned public events with 300 or more persons to ensure proper planning and adequate allocation of county resources for events, and to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public attending the events. The ordinance does not apply to special events sponsored by local, state, or federal government agencies, or schools located in Alexander County. Another public hearing will be held at the November meeting, with adoption tentatively scheduled for the December meeting.
• A public hearing was held to consider a Conditional Use Permit for an indoor shooting range as requested by Landon Ferguson. Jon Pilkenton, Director of Planning & Development, said the proposed shooting range would be located at 5646 NC Hwy. 16 South on a 9.023-acre parcel which is zoned highway-commercial. Pilkenton said that the plans, designed by a ballistics engineer, call for a five-booth shooting range. Commissioners unanimously approved the Conditional Use Permit.
• David Icenhour, Executive Director of the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation, presented the bid results for a proposed shell building project. Icenhour noted that the county has had good success with previous shell buildings, and said there are no modern industrial buildings that are available in Alexander County. Bids for the 50,000 square foot building were opened on August 29, with the low bid of $3,118,040 submitted by G.L. Wilson Building Company. With the bids being higher than anticipated, Icenhour said that he has arrangements to defray $850,000 of the up-front costs. He noted that the bids expire at the end of this month, so a decision is needed on the project. After discussion, commissioners voted unanimously to reject all bids and revisit the shell building project at a later date. Chairman Jeff Peal said the shell building is a great concept, but the timing isn’t right.
• Icenhour presented a project resolution to apply for a North Carolina Department of Commerce Building Reuse Grant for “Project Par 3.” If awarded, the grant would total $137,500, with Alexander County contributing a five percent local match of $6,875. The company would also pledge $137,500 and 11 new jobs. Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution.
• County Manager Rick French presented a sales tax revenue update. For the month of July 2019, the county received $452,798.04 in regular sales tax (a 6.33 percent increase vs. July 2018) and $135,699.76 in the new sales tax (a 7.17 percent increase vs. July 2018) that is designated for economic development, public education, and community colleges.
• Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in support of the 2020 Census.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners typically meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in room #103 at the CVCC Alexander Center for Education. The next meeting is on Monday, November 4. Meetings are recorded and can be viewed on the county’s Government Channel on Spectrum channel 192 or on the county’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and more are available on the county’s website at www.alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.