12/04/08 — Mount Olive board OKs new sign, first depot contracts

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Mount Olive board OKs new sign, first depot contracts

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 4, 2008 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A decades-old traffic pattern is about to change for motorists, and a local historic landmark is getting a makeover.

Mount Olive Town Board members talked about the long-awaited depot renovation project and the traffic change at their meeting Monday -- and decided to clarify wording about the cost of sewer taps.

Town commissioners voted unanimously to turn the intersection of North Chestnut Street and West John Street into a four-way stop.

The action followed a brief public hearing during which no one from the public spoke.

Officials with the Mount Olive First Baptist Church made the request for the four-way stop.

"With the Christian Life Center they are putting in across the street, they were concerned about the traffic with people crossing," Town Manager Charles Brown said in an interview. "Also with the parking lot, there are a lot of elderly folks and children that cross from that parking lot to the church and they wanted sort of a traffic-calming effect there."

Brown said he is unsure how quickly the traffic change will be made.

"What we have to do, according to Department of Transportation regulations, we have to notify everybody that there is going to be a traffic pattern change," Brown said. "We have to put signs up for that. The Police Department and public works are working on that right now."

The change could be made within a month, Brown said.

After months of delays and initial bids that outstripped the $100,000 state grant the town has received for the depot project, the board Monday awarded the contracts for the project.

After the initial bids came in over budget, commissioners decided to break the project into two smaller ones designed to stabilize the building and leaving the interior work until more money can be found.

Dixie General Contractors of Wallace was awarded a $47,100 contract to stabilize and paint the exterior. E.T. Ferrell & Son Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning of Mount Olive was awarded an $11,950 contract for the heating and air conditioning.

Brown said he hopes the town can use the remainder of the grant to do some of the interior work. He said the town will file for an extension with the state to retain the money.

"We probably will not be able to complete it (depot) with the money we have," he said. "We are still seeking some additional funding for that. Our thinking is that right now we can get the exterior of the building stabilized and we can get the heat and air working then that at least gets the building useable," he said. "We can put it back in use (as the civic center). When we get the funding for the interior we can go ahead and get that done as well."

Brown said Department of Transportation member Gus Tulloss, whose district includes Wayne County, has been approached by the town about discretionary funds that might be available.

"You know the term discretionary funds is probably laughable in this economy," Brown said. "But we still made the request. We figured nothing ventured, nothing gained."

The town has asked for another $52,000 for the project.

Brown said he is unsure when the town will learn the fate of the request.

The board also acted on a request from the water department to change water and sewer tap fees.

"It impacts industrial use more than anything else, probably," Brown said. "We were finding that when we got a request for a two-inch water tap or four-inch sewer tap for a new business that it was actually costing us more money than we were charging for it."

The new fees are $2,000 for a two-inch water tap and for a four-inch sewer tap.

In the past, the town's guidelines just said the cost would be "time and materials."

"We have so many people calling us from out of state and out of town now -- they want information before they come," Brown said. "Somebody calls you from Kansas City and you say time and materials they are like, 'what does that mean?'"

Even with the set fees, there still could be times that the charge would not be sufficient to cover the town's cost.

Brown said the fees are not meant to be a moneymaker but rather to ensure the town at least breaks even.

In other business, the board recognized the town's Hurricanes football team. The team has gone undefeated during the past two seasons and has won three consecutive league titles. The team has lost only one game in three years.

Commissioners also agreed to support the Calypso Town Board's efforts to have the Calypso bridge named in honor of Dr. Hervy B. Kornegay Sr. of Calypso.

Kornegay is a founder of Mount Olive Family Medicine Center and is the Duplin County medical examiner. He also has been heavily involved with Mount Olive and Duplin County volunteer rescue squads.