Trinity OKs contract for final sewer phase

Oct. 19, 2013 @ 04:08 PM

The Trinity City Council has given the go-ahead for construction of the fifth and final phase of sewer extensions that were first planned nearly a decade ago.
The council recently voted unanimously to award the project to Central Builders of Rocky Mount, which submitted the lowest of nine bids for the work. The project will provide sewer service to about 140 properties south of Interstate 85, primarily east of Meadowbrook Drive and north of Ronniedale Road.
The council approved a budget of $3.7 million for the project, about $3.1 million of which is to be proceeds remaining from $15 million in bonds approved by city voters in 2004. The city plans to use sewer tap fees and other revenues to pay for the remaining costs.
Trinity has issued bonds in phases to pay for sewer construction.
Once Phase 5 is done, about 1,500 of the city’s roughly 2,500 households will have access to sewer service.
Providing this was a key factor behind Trinity’s incorporation in 1997.
City leaders saw the need for a public sewer system because much of the area’s soil is unsuitable for new septic systems, which makes it difficult to attract new development.
There are no plans to fund major additional phases of sewer extensions to serve residential areas. The city is seeking state and federal grants to extend sewer service to several businesses in the Turnpike Industrial Park on Turnpike Road.
Repaying the bonds that have already been issued has been a concern of city leaders.
The continued sluggish state of commercial development in Trinity has stemmed the flow of sales tax revenue that officials hoped to use to pay the debt.
State regulators earlier this year put the city on notice about the condition of its sewer fund, which reported a net loss last year. The city had been taking money out of its general fund to pay for sewer projects.
The city’s debt-service payments for the sewer system are projected to top $1 million this budget year. The city’s total budget is $4.08 million.
In other business, City Manager Debbie Hinson said the city has had several complaints about the campaign signs of council candidates being removed or defaced. Officials advised that stealing or vandalizing a sign that is lawfully placed is a misdemeanor and suspected violations should be reported to law enforcement.
Hinson said permission is required from the owner of a property on which a political sign is placed, and that signs placed without permission should be reported to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
In an unrelated matter, Ward 1 council candidate Mitchell Childers said he has suspended his campaign. Childers said he does not want to unseat Ward 1 incumbent Kristen Varner, but instead plans to run against another incumbent, Debbie Frazier, in two years.
Four of the eight council seats, plus the mayor’s seat, are up for election next month.