Lawsuit could cost Randleman Lake up to $5 million

Dec. 10, 2013 @ 08:06 PM

The Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority received a solid report from its outside auditor, though the document also details a potential financial setback for the agency operating Randleman Lake that could total up to $5 million.
The loss would come through an inverse condemnation lawsuit against the Water Authority that’s in Guilford County Superior Court after working its way through the court system for several years. Five hydroelectric suppliers downstream from Randleman Regional Reservoir sued the Water Authority, saying the construction of the dam and lake financially damaged them by decreasing water flow on the Deep River. The case earlier this year was taken up in Superior Court to determine the level of monetary damages.
The Water Authority’s outside audit report says that experts for the hydroelectric suppliers contend the losses could total up to $5 million.
“Should the jury determine that damages are warranted, these costs will have to be met by either assessment to the member governments or by increases to the water rates charged to the governments, or some combination thereof,” according to the report by the auditing firm Cherry Bekaert.
The member governments who collaborated to build the lake as a drinking water source are High Point, Jamestown, Archdale, Randleman, Greensboro and Randolph County. The lake, which opened three years ago, also serves as a recreational fishing site.
Water Authority Executive Director Greg Flory said following the board meeting that a trial on the inverse condemnation case should take sometime before June. The Water Authority board went into closed session Tuesday to discuss a legal matter, and Flory confirmed afterward that the discussion involved the inverse condemnation case.
The outside audit of the Water Authority showed the agency is in strong fiscal shape. Total revenues for the last fiscal year increased $899,000, or 13 percent, while total expenses declined $543,000, or 7.2 percent, according to the Cherry Bekaert analysis.

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The Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority on Tuesday spent $206,350 to purchase 41.3 acres near southern Greensboro to increase the buffer area around Randleman Lake. The land is near Southwest Park bracketed by Groometown, Hickory Creek and Wall roads. The land was purchased from the survivors trust of Marjorie Foster of Colfax, according to the authority.