The Stokes County Board of Commissioners is on track to secure a high producing well near the new Forsyth Tech campus in the Meadows community.
Public Works Director Mark Delehant told the Board Monday Monday that the county had drilled a test well on property owned by James and Hazel Bennett, noting the well produced 68 gallons per minute and water samples had shown the the water quality would be acceptable for use as a public water supply.
Delehant asked the Board to agree to purchase a parcel of land the well is located on for the current tax value of $11,500, noting that funding could come from the initial $30,000 the Board had approved for well exploration in the area.
“We need to purchase the land so we own the well so it can be integrated into the water system as a back up,” said Delehant. “It has a great yield and is of great quality. This could be used as a back up for the Early College, but once the land is purchased we can use it whenever we need to.”
Commissioners unanimously supported the plan, setting a final vote for the project for their Dec. 28 meeting.
But the Board was far from unanimous when the discussion turned to the possibility of using left over grant funding to explore the possibility of expanding sewer lines in the Meadows community.
In November, County Manager Rick Morris told the board the county could expand sewer service in the area by up to 2,300 feet by utilizing funding left over from the initial grant to extend service to the Forsyth Tech building.
“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.”
In November, a number of Commissioners balked at the prospect of using more county funds for the project.
Commissioner James 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 Commissioner Jimmy 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.
Last month Commissioner 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.”
This week a motion to approve the project was again met with opposition, with the Board eventually deciding to table the topic until Pilot View could provide a more detailed explanation of the costs involved.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.