At a special called meeting June 28, Southport Board of Aldermen approved a budget amendment for an additional $250,000 to cover paving costs for the Howe Street sewer project. Tom Stanley, Southport Public Services Director, said an underestimation of materials required to pave the street was the reason for the additional funding request.

“Trenches were more expensive than anticipated because the deeper the sewer line is located, the wider the excavation needs to be, requiring more fill material and asphalt,” said Stanley. There were also several unanticipated manholes that required more work.

“The engineer for the project was very short in his estimation,” Stanley said. The new estimate is approximately 150-percent of the original, therefore an additional $250,000 is needed to cover the difference in paving costs and work on the manholes.

Alderman John Allen asked if the additional funds would come from the water and sewer fund balance, which was confirmed. Allen also asked Stanley if he thought this would be the last unforeseen issue to arise and Stanley responded he thought it would be the last issue on the project, but that there could be other unknown issues underground.

“There might be other abandoned manholes to deal with,” Stanley said.

He said he is particularly concerned about the area where the hospital is located, and that he knows of a manhole that was previously filled with dirt that could affect progress.

Alderman Lowe Davis asked for an update on when the project will be completed, and Stanley told her he “would love to say that it would be finished in July, but it would more than likely be August.”

The board then approved the requested budget amendment.

Mayor Joseph P. MD, applauded Stanley, his department and City Manager Gordon Hargrove for being so resilient during this project and moving it forward.

Another budget amendment to pay Brunswick Electric for its work installing electric lines underground on NC 211 was considered by the board. Southport Finance Director Melanie Trexler explained the amendment was essentially a formality because North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has already agreed to pay the difference between the estimate and the actual cost. The difference in cost was primarily due to need for a larger than expected bore on a portion of the project. Aldermen approved the budget amendment.