11/17/10 — Commissioners will look at plans for draft capital spending projects

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Commissioners will look at plans for draft capital spending projects

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 17, 2010 1:46 PM

New homes for the Wayne County Health Department and Services on Aging and Mount Olive's Steele Memorial Library are expected to be part of a draft capital improvement plan to be unveiled Thursday.

County Manager Lee Smith and his staff were still compiling cost and budget estimates Wednesday morning for county commissioners' special session that gets under way at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Goldsboro Country Club. The meeting is open to the public.

County Finance Officer Pam Holt said the final figures probably would not be completed until sometime Thursday morning.

County schools and a new county jail round out the major projects on the preliminary list.

Smith also is expected to update the board on the Steele Memorial Library Committee's grassroots fundraising campaign to raise $350,000 for the $3.5 million library project.

As of Oct. 21, the campaign had raised $215,646 including $131,650 in pledges and $83,996 on deposit.

No timetables or funding have been approved for any of the projects.

Smith has said he might ask commissioners for permission to move forward or for consideration to proceed on at least the first part of design of the William Street property for Services on Aging and the Health Department.

That request would be just to get the preliminary design work done. With that in hand, the board could decide how best to proceed, he said.

Smith estimates the cost of renovating the old Masons department store property on William Street at $13 million. However, the cost will depend on what options are included.

Even at $13 million, the project would still be cheaper than starting from scratch and having to purchase property, he said. The same is true for the library. Cost of a new library would top $5 million, he said.

The county plans to convert the old Belk's building on West Main Street in Mount Olive into the new library that is being billed as a regional library, encompassing the Seven Springs branch that closed July 1.

Also, some of the technical operations now being done in Goldsboro would move to the Mount Olive branch.

Smith has instructed county facilities director Sue Farmer to begin looking at the possibilities of doing an RFQ, a request for qualifications to hire an architect, for the library project.

How the library would be paid for depends on several things, Smith has said. It could be paid mostly with cash.

However, if other projects, such as the Health Depart-ment and Services on Aging, come up at the same time, it might be a combination of financing and cash.