Stokes County Board of Commissioners considers Meadows sewer expansion

By Nicholas Elmes -

The Meadows area sewer expansion project may reach a little further if the Stokes County Board of Commissioners agrees to use left over funding to expand the project.

County Manager Rick Morris told the board last week the county could expand sewer service by up to 2,300 feet.

“It is all geared around not losing any of the grant funding that was provided,” said Morris, noting that the extension would likely provide sewer service to a proposed animal shelter planned for the area.

Pilot View Resource Institute Project Coordinator Charles Anderson told the board there was about $600,000 in unused funding left after the original project had been completed, but said the county may have to invest more money, up to $164,159, in order to expand the sewer network to the full extent being recommended.

“The total investment from Stokes County would be about 10 percent when it is all done,” he said. “Most of the time you are looking at localities investing 50 to 60 to 100 percent. You are fortunate to have the funds to have an opportunity to extend it.”

But several commissioners balked at the prospect of investing more in the project.

“Run the extension as far as it will go with the amount of grant money we have,” said Commissioner Ernest Lankford. “I don’t want to put anymore Stokes County dollars into it.”

Commissioner Jimmy Walker agreed.

“Every dollar of county money we allocate has to be based on total priorities for the county,” he said.

Commissioner Jame Booth questioned the cost of engineering and management of the project, a set price of $188,830 regardless of how far the line is extended.

“$189,000 for design and management for less than half a mile of sewer line seems astronomical,” agreed Walker.

Anderson told the board they had three options.

“You can do nothing and lose all of the money,” he said. “You can choose to do a part of it, or you can choose to do all of it. But the only way to get there is to approve the design process so we can move forward.”

He said the cost of the design phase would be paid entirely through grant funds, and that the county could decide how much more additional local funding to invest in the project during the bid process for construction.

Board Chair Ronda Jones said she supported going through the design process.

“This is a real opportunity,” she said. “I see no downside. I see this as a very good deal. I hope it does not take $164,000 but, given what we have gotten, a few thousand dollars here or there is a good investment.”

“Putting it out for bid will not cost the tax payers any money,” agreed Commissioner Leon Inman. “If it costs the board $1 then we can vote it down. I see nothing to lose by doing that.”

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes

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