During the Boiling Spring Lakes Board of Commissioners Feb. 2 meeting at City Hall, City Manager Jeff Repp informed the commissioners about the latest repair estimates for Sanford Dam, Pine Lake Dam, North Lake Dam and Upper Dam, which equal $32,812,884.
The city’s share would be $14,193,116. By comparison, the city’s tax levy last year amounted to $1,240,216. The dams were destroyed by flooding in 2018 by Hurricane Florence.
These costs are “still tentative, pending FEMA approval,” according to a note on a chart that projected the costs, which are based on engineer’s 90% estimate of probable construction cost.
Sanford Dam’s projected cost is $28,046,648, of which the city’s share of the projected cost is $13,204,124.
“This is going to be a complicated financing,” Repp said, “since we have 36 months worth of construction that we’re probably looking at, if not a little bit more. All the money does not have to be borrowed up front. … We’ll probably be borrowing on a 12-month basis ‘x number of dollars’ to cover construction for that 12 months.”
The construction cycle is independent of filling the dams with water.
“Probably six months after that, actually impounding the water,” Repp said. “Because once the dams are completed, we then have to get a permit to impound water into the dams.
“Hopefully, we can expedite that process.”
According to Repp, the city was previously informed by FEMA that the costs associated with bringing the dams back to current codes and standards as determined by N.C. Dam Safety, which issues construction permits, were eligible expenses to be reimbursed by FEMA.
In November 2020, FEMA changed its position and will be issuing a written determination that the codes and standards by N.C. Dam Safety will no longer be accepted as eligible expenses. It leaves the city with having to follow a different path to funding to cover the $14-million gap, Repp said.
The city continues to work with the federal delegation to attempt to get FEMA to not be allowed to change the rules in the middle of the game and with the state delegation to find funding to reduce the $14-million gap that now exists, Repp said.
Repp also noted the date to award the contract for the police department construction is March 14. “Substantial construction completion” is March 19, 2022.
The board authorized the city manager to accept the proposal of Superior Recreation of the Carolinas, of Chesterfield, South Carolina for the Muse Park project playground equipment, in the estimated amount of $77,312.62.
The date to award the bid for park reconstruction is March 2 and the notice to proceed is March 15. The tentative park reopening is the month of June.
As of Dec. 31, the city had $1,951,847 in cash and investments.
In sales-tax revenue, through seven months of the fiscal year the city is 22.6% ($250,108) ahead of schedule. Because of the pandemic, the city is projected to receive $1,834,403 this fiscal year. In the previous fiscal year, the city received $2,037,154.
In home permits, the city has issued 42 permits so far this fiscal year, which are eight fewer than what the city has budgeted for the entire fiscal year. The 42 to-date permits are the most since at least 2014.
The board appointed: Johnnie Scarborough to the Board of Adjustments for a three-year term beginning Feb. 6; Brenda Hogan as first alternate to the Planning Board beginning Feb. 2 for a two-year term; and Michael Magee as second alternate to the Planning Board beginning Feb. 2 for a two-year term.
Commissioners took the following action:
n Amended the Table of Organization, replacing “public works director” with “public works supervisor,” and creating the position of public works administrative assistant. William Rockenhauser began work Jan. 25 as the supervisor.
n Authorized the city manager to accept the proposal of Phillips Enterprise Trucking of Bolivia for the clearing and restoration of a city-owned drainage swale on Windermere Road in the estimated amount of $16,100.
n Amended Article 2, Article 6, Article 7, and Appendix B of the Unified Development Ordinance.
n Approved a resolution adopting the Southeastern N.C. Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Local governments must develop a hazard mitigation plan to be eligible to receive future Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds and other disaster-related assistance funding. The plan must be updated and adopted within a five-year cycle.
n Voted 3-1 against amending the official zoning map to rezone a parcel from R-2 Residential to C-1 Commercial Mixed Use. The parcel is about 0.07 mile from N.C. 87 at 101 W. North Shore Drive.
Mayor Craig Caster was opposed to the amendment.
“I promote businesses in Boiling Spring Lakes,” said Caster, and he encouraged the petitioners “to keep looking and consider an area in our city where to do a business in an appropriate place.”
Commissioner Dana Witt said she was supportive of commercial enterprise but opposed this amendment.
“We have to be thoughtful of the potential traffic hazard to that area,” she said. “I’m not sure this is the right property for commercial use at this time.”
Commissioner Teagan Perry Hall also opposed the amendment.
Commissioner Bill Clark, former chairman of the Planning Board, voted in favor of the amendment.
Commissioner Tom Guzulaitis recused himself, stating he had a financial interest nearby.
BSL responded to 32 EMS calls and 19 fire calls, Chief Theresa Tickle said.
She also said, “We’ve actually gained quite a few volunteers over the (past) couple of months.”
The board went into closed session to discuss personnel matters. A motion made by Hall, a second by Guzulaitis. The vote was 5-0.
A motion was made by Guzulaitis, a second by Witt, to move out of closed session. The vote was 5-0. No decision was made, pending review with city attorney.
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.