ASHEBORO — An agreement to fund the cost of moving power lines at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite has been postponed by the Randolph County commissioners.
The agreement would share the preparation cost of the project among North Carolina Railroad Holdings, the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation and Randolph County. The county's share of the "not-to-exceed" cost of $3.9 million would be $600,000 paid in two installments between Nov. 30, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020.
Preparation for moving the power line through the approximately 1,900-acre site is considered a possible need for any client considering to use the megasite for advanced manufacturing. Duke Energy agrees to complete the preparation work by November of this year.
Commissioners David Allen, Maxton McDowell and Kenny Kidd questioned Duke's budget for the project, which they considered unusual from an accounting point of view. Of particular concern were the contingency fund of 50 percent and the line titled "burdens" at 35 percent. The cost estimate of the project is $1,726,164 while the contingency is set at $863,082 and the burdens at $906,236.
Allen said he had never seen a contingency fund at 50 percent of the cost estimate. McDowell suggested letting the NC Railroad pay the county's $600,000 since it pays state and federal taxes and could deduct that amount from its tax payments.
Kidd asked Chair Darrell Frye, "Can we have someone here to answer questions?" Frye responded that they could ask to have a representative from Duke Energy to respond to their questions.
Frye warned the board that any client considering the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite would look closely at the county commissioners and read the minutes of their meetings. He said any such client would want to know that the county wanted them.
Allen responded that a client would see that the commissioners are good stewards of the county's money.
Kidd made a motion to bring the issue back up in November to ask questions of Duke. The board approved the motion unanimously.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the expenditure of $131,000 for three projects under the county's strategic plan.
The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council asked for $30,000 for a gang crime impact study. Judge Sarah Lanier said the last such survey was done 10 years ago. Information from such a study would be valuable for law enforcement, Kidd said, who is a member of the JCPC.
Healthy Communities requested funds for the Deep River Trail, the Archdale-Trinity Middle School Greenway and the Seagrove sidewalk project. The Deep River Trail needs a bridge across Sandy Creek with an estimated cost of $300,000. A grant for the project would require a $60,000 local match.
The Archdale greenway is estimated at $500,000 with the City of Archdale committing to $200,000. The county was asked for $24,000.
The commissioners also agreed to a $17,000 local match for the Seagrove sidewalks, estimated to cost $100,000.
Frye reminded everyone that the funds come from Waste Management, which operates the county's regional landfill.
The trails, greenway and sidewalks are all considered to be incentives to bring in visitors and, thus, economic development initiatives.
• Heard an update on REACT by Donovan Davis, chief of Emergency Services. REACT sends out alerts to Randolph County residents who are registered for the program.
• Approved the commissioners' meeting schedule for 2020. The board normally meets the first Monday of each month but will meet Monday, March 9, due to a national commissioners conference on the first Monday of March, and Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
• Had special recognitions for: Whitaker Farms, which was named North Carolina's 2018 Outstanding Conservation Farm Family; and Capt. Michael Craven, who has retired after 24 years with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office.
• Heard public comments from: Gerald Jacobi, who expressed concerns with individuals breaking covenants in his residential subdivision; Gifford DelGrande, who showed support for the Sandy Creek bridge along the Deep River Trail; Steve Brown, who issued concerns for regular gunfire in his neighborhood; Mayor David Fernandez of Seagrove, asking for funds to help build sidewalks in his town; and Mayor Perry Conner of Franklinville, speaking in support of expanding the Deep River Trail.
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