04/28/10 — GATEWAY takes look at transfer station lease

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GATEWAY takes look at transfer station lease

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 28, 2010 1:46 PM

The prospect of a 40-year lease on a new transfer station Tuesday morning appeared unsettling to Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority members who questioned what form the authority would have, if it would even exist that far in future and what its mission would be.

However, they were told that without approval of a memorandum of understanding that the project could not proceed.

The board finally agreed to the memorandum after being assured that it would still have the opportunity to examine the actual lease that should address details.

City Development Services Director Randy Guthrie told the board that the city, the authority and state Department of Transportation are required to enter into the memorandum of understanding that defines each party's responsibilities, primarily the city's and the authority's GATEWAY bus system's responsibilities relative to the construction of the bus transfer station at Union Station.

Guthrie said the DOT, authority Director Alan Stubbs and city staff had worked together to prepare the memorandum, which states:

* GATEWAY will be responsible for making application for and obtaining any required funding for the bus transfer station through the Federal Transit Administration and other funding sources

* The city as owner of the Union Station property will lease the site to GATEWAY for a minimum of 40 years at a cost of $1 a year

* The city of Goldsboro will serve as the project manager for the design and construction of the bus transfer station and thus will be responsible for contracting tasks associated with design and construction such as hiring architects, construction management and related issues

* The city will submit invoices to GATEWAY on a monthly basis or as mutually agreed on for reimbursement of cost

* It will be the responsibility of GATEWAY to submit reimbursements to the city for invoices received in a timely manner

* At the conclusion of the construction of the bus transfer station, the responsibility for maintenance and repair will be that of GATEWAY.

County attorney Borden Park told the board that the length of the lease will require City Council hold a public hearing and that "there is no way out for anybody."

Guthrie said that the intent of the document refers only to the construction of the transfer station.

However, County Manager Lee Smith said, "That is not what it is saying."

Stubbs said the expenditures would be for the urban side of the GATEWAY operation only. GATEWAY also operates rural routes.

Board member and City Council member Bob Waller asked if the lease had to be 40 years.

"Yes, it is a condition of DOT," Stubbs said.

Guthrie said the document had been written with shorter leases, but the city was told it had to be 40 years.

Parker asked if the DOT would allow a provision that would permit the lease to be terminated.

"No, unless you want to pay the (grant) money back," Stubbs said.

"I am like Lee, what happens if the GATEWAY is no longer GATEWAY and we no longer have this board," Waller said.

"Or on the flip side is from the city's standpoint," Smith said. "What if your direction changes at some point in those 40 years? You don't know what is going to happen. Things change. That is up to you (city officials) guys. That is on your side."

Parker said he would like to see the lease before it is approved.

"A lot of the details can be handled in the actual lease," Guthrie said. "I think that might be part of their (state's) logic. The lease would have to come back through to be approved by all parties once we get to that point."

He said that City Council has approved the memorandum and the state has indicated in an e-mail that it would approve it, too.

Approval is needed by all three groups before the project can proceed, Guthrie said.

"The sooner we can get this signed off on by all three parties, the sooner we can go forward with hiring an architect," he said.

Waller made the motion to approve the memorandum, but to have Parker look at the lease before the board adopts it.