01/02/09 — County eyes water deal for ParkEast

View Archive

County eyes water deal for ParkEast

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 2, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday are expected to consider an agreement that calls for them to spend $1.29 million on water improvements for fire protection at ParkEast, the county's industrial park off U.S. 70.

The agreement with the Eastern Wayne Sanitary District was on the board's agenda in December, but was removed after commissioners questioned several of its provisions.

It isn't the only agreement that will come before the board Tuesday. Commiss-ioners also will consider entering into a lease with MP Wayne LLC to extract methane gas from the county landfill at Dudley.

Commissioners spoke briefly about that lease following a closed session Dec. 16, but delayed action until January to give county attorney Borden Parker time to negotiate the proposal. Since the contract is still under negotiations, Parker did not elaborate on its details.

Tuesday's meeting starts at 8 a.m. with a briefing session followed by the board meeting at 9 a.m. Both will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

County Manager Lee Smith said that most of the concerns about the water agreement have been resolved, such as the location of the lines and 500,000-gallon elevated water tank.

One issue yet to be resolved is ownership of the $800,000 tank.

Commissioners were concerned about turning the water tank over to the Eastern Wayne Sanitary District.

As of Wednesday, Smith said that he and Parker were continuing talks with Eastern Wayne Sanitary District officials to reach a resolution.

The original agreement had the county conveying the tank to the water district. Commissioners, however, wondered whether it would be better to retain ownership and lease it to the water district.

The county has received $500,000 grants from both the N.C. Rural Center and the N.C. Department of Commerce. A match of $290,000 will come from the county.

The project calls for the Eastern Wayne Sanitary District to design and construct the water tank and a 12-inch water line loop of the city system through Park East to Thoroughfare Road.

The water district will foot the bill for constructing a water line extension from its system on Miller's Chapel Road and through Park East to serve lots 7-11. Lots 7-10 are currently vacant. AAR Corp. is located on lot 11.

That portion of the project is estimated at $1.065 million.

Smith said the water tank will be located on the back side of lot 7 near the railroad tracks.

"That way it will not mess up any property for development," he said.

AAR Corp. will be the primary user of the new line that it needs for fire protection and to meet the company's need of 3,500 gallons of water per minute.

The city currently serves the company's water needs and will continue to provide potable water for it.

The city and Eastern Wayne Sanitary District have been discussing how Park East could be best served by two water districts.

Originally, city officials were concerned about the potential for stale water in the industrial park should an elevated tank be constructed on the city system.

The stale water was a potential problem because of the low level of water use in the industrial park in combination with the large volume of storage an elevated tank provides.

The water district has the capability to supply a substantial water flow without the stale water concerns.

Goldsboro City Council approved the agreement in November.

The water district board does not meet again until next month.

The agreement includes provisions for the water district to supply a portion of the city's water needs during water emergencies and for Goldsboro to supply a portion of the water district's long-term daily water needs.

The county's approval is needed before the district can approve the agreement with Goldsboro.

Design and construction would begin immediately following final approval of the agreement and is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile, negotiation between the county and MP Wayne, LLC have been ongoing for more than a year.

The company plans to use the gas, that is created by the decomposition of garbage at the county landfill, to generate electricity. Currently, the gas is vented and burned off.

The company approached the county about the proposal, but did not follow up.

The county began looking for someone else to buy the gas when MP Wayne, LLC officials said they were ready to proceed.

At the Dec. 16 session commissioners said the proposed lease was not satisfactory. Parker did not elaborate since negotiations are ongoing.

MP Wayne, LLC would take a 20-year lease on property at the landfill to put equipment on to get the gas out and convert it to electricity. It also would lease the ability to get the gas out of the landfill.

A lease that that long requires commissioners to make public their intent.

It does not require a public hearing.

However, making a statement of intent allows the public an opportunity to comment.

It could take more than a year to get the equipment in and start the process.

Once it starts the county would receive $20,000 and then it would get $100 per month plus 3.5 percent of the company's gross income to be paid twice a year.