STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON FEBRUARY 12, 2002
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice‑Chairman Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy R. Brantley, County Engineer Gary Tweed, and Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. The purpose of this meeting was a workshop on Sewer Issues. Chairman Moyer stated that sewer issues will be a very important part of the development of the County Comprehensive Plan.
Chairman Moyer also stated there was a matter before the Board that would require Closed Session. It was the consensus of the Board to go into Closed Session following this meeting.
SEWER DISTRICTS BOUNDARY DISCUSSION
Gary Tweed gave a background of the sewer districts. Currently in existence are the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District and the Mud Creek Water and Sewer District. Mr. Tweed pointed out the area that was the original Mud Creek Water and Sewer District. Both districts were formed in the 1980's, with the Cane Creek District recently being extended to the Mills River area.
There exists an agreement with the City of Hendersonville that entails selling the Mud Creek Water and Sewer District to them. He pointed out the new boundary that has been established for that agreement. That boundary had been established by the Mud Creek District Advisory Council. Part of that process involved using the USDS monuments on the ridge tops, to define the watershed for the City of Hendersonville=s wastewater treatment plant. He stated that the agreement should be amended to reflect the new area.
The northern part of the Mud Creek District flows into the Cane Creek District. One of the reasons to realign the districts is to create a better geographic fit, since sewers flow by gravity. The master interceptor plan shows three pump stations in the Mud Creek District, two of which go into Hendersonville and one goes into the Cane Creek District. He discussed where the pump stations are located and where they pump to. One of the benefits of the new interceptor plans would be to eliminate the pump stations.
Mr. Tweed stated that there were several decisions to be made. First, how will the revised Mud Creek Water & Sewer District be treated. The agreement with Hendersonville should be amended to reflect the new boundaries. There has been some discussion of how to treat the assets (pump stations), with respect to the sewer district. One option would be to transfer those assets to the Cane Creek District. Angela Beeker stated that another decision that should be made is whether this will be formed as a County Water & Sewer District or a service area under the agreement with Hendersonville. Mr. Tweed=s recommendation was to work toward abandonment of the old district, and work toward expanding the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District.
Mr. Tweed answered several questions from the Board on the expansion of district boundaries, and the implications of such an expansion on current customers.
Commissioner Hawkins questioned the revenue generated by some of the omitted lines. Mr. Nicholson stated that the amount is $137,000, but that figure includes the treatment fees. Commissioner Hawkins then asked if there was any advantage to letting those lines eventually go back to Hendersonville versus the County keeping them. Mr. Tweed stated that if the county eventually does a project up Mud Creek, the industrial park would be a significant user on that system and the revenues would be needed to help fund and support that addition.
There was much discussion surrounding the future plans for the districts.
Commissioner Ward informed the Board that the Mud Creek Advisory Committee had identified five areas in the county as "trouble areas". They have been identified as such because of failing systems, or the ground not perking.
Commissioner Gordon stated that administratively, the fewer districts we have, the better off we are. Anything that would be tied into the Mud Creek District will eventually become a part of the City of Hendersonville. What is developed in Cane Creek may or may not become part of a municipality. Therefore, from a planning perspective we should be more interested in what happens in Cane Creek, and how the Cane Creek line can be brought in to meet the Mud Creek line. She expressed concern over the possibility of the county installing sewer lines only to have those properties annexed by the city.
There was discussion of building sewer service into the County Comprehensive Plan, and how the Mud Creek District Advisory Council plans to take care of the five trouble areas. Commissioner Messer questioned how the Board should prioritize taking on those five projects. There are several factors that come into play, but the Mud Creek District Advisory Council will make recommendations to the City and County, but the City has the final say.
Mr. Tweed stated that the agreement with MSD is very good. MSD provides unlimited treatment, as long as they have treatment capacity and interceptor capacity. If we get close to the 1,000,000 gallons per day flow, we may need to look at treatment plants. There followed discussion on where significant additional flow would come from. Chairman Moyer questioned how long it would be before the county might have to consider adding a treatment facility. Mr. Tweed stated that with the current flow rate, the county was in no danger of having to add a treatment facility.
Mr. Tweed stated that at a minimum, an amendment should be done to the existing agreement to reflect the new Mud Creek boundary, and the Board can consider what they would like to do with the old Mud Creek Boundary. Angela Beeker stated that the old Mud Creek boundary needs to be dissolved regardless of action on the new boundary.
Chairman Moyer made the motion to dissolve the boundary of the old Mud Creek Sewer District with an effective date of June 30, 2002. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Ms. Beeker then stated that in regards to the new Mud Creek boundary, at a minimum the Board should say that it is a service area under the agreement. The Board has the choice of saying it is either a service area or reforming it as a new ACounty Water and Sewer District@. Commissioner Ward made the motion to authorize staff to bring back all the documentation necessary to make this a service area for Henderson County, named the Amended Mud Creek District. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Mr. Tweed then asked if it was the pleasure of the Board to look at the expansion of Cane Creek. Commission Gordon made the motion to expand the boundaries of Cane Creek. Ms. Beeker reminded the Board that expansion would be effective July 1, 2002, assuming all documentation and public hearings were complete. Gary Tweed stated that this expansion would encompass the area that had been within the boundary of the former Mud Creek Sewer District, but would not be in the Amended Mud Creek District. Staff would begin looking at maps and boundary links to find out what could be done, and what steps would be taken to complete such an expansion. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
There was some question about transferring assets from the former Mud Creek Sewer District to the Cane Creek District. Angela Beeker stated that this issue would be brought back to the Board while in session as the Mud Creek District. Chairman Moyer requested staff come back to the Board with a recommendation on the right thing to do for the three lines in question.
Proceeds from Sale of Mud Creek
David Nicholson stated that the funds from the sale of Mud Creek are in the General Fund Balance. The Mud Creek account is being closed out with the exception of a few accounts. Commissioner Hawkins questioned what that money could be used for. Mr. Nicholson informed the Board they could use it for anything. Chairman Moyer stated the Board has not made a decision on where to use these proceeds.
Cane Creek Water and Sewer District Issues
Mr. Tweed informed the Board that since the grant agreement had been signed with the EPA, he had been trying to get information from the EPA on the process. He recently found out that the grant administrator he had been working with has passed away. Mr. Tweed has now contacted both federal and state officials, and will be sending our information on to them. The first step in the process is an Environmental Information Document, which is a review of all the environmental aspects of a project. That must be completed before any construction work begins.
The design is being done in three steps: the interceptor, and two collector line projects. The interceptor line work is almost complete, with a few easements still to obtain. There was discussion of what work should be done prior to completion of the Environmental Information Document, since only work done after grant approval is grant eligible.
Commissioner Hawkins asked about the cost of building lines past the school in Mills River. The following estimates that had been put together as part of the grant application:
Interceptor - $2,052,000
School Line - $333,000
Collector Line to Business sector - $498,000
Total Cost - $2,800,000
Mr. Nicholson stated that some state ADM money would be used for this project. Mr. Tweed noted that a Federal grant will cover $1,351,000, the ADM monies cover $240,000, and monies from the sale of Mud Creek equal about $450,000. This does leave some portion of the project unfunded at this time. Mr. Tweed explained that financing is probably the way to go for our portion.
Commissioner Hawkins asked if there had been any discussion on what role Fletcher and Mills River would be willing to play in operating a sewer system. Mr. Tweed stated that no municipality, other than Hendersonville, owns a treatment facility. Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that as part of the widening of Highway 25, Fletcher is going to put a sewer line in on 25 North, and then turn that line over to Henderson County.
There was discussion of the possible incorporation of Mills River, and the impact of the County already having sewer lines in place in that area.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that as he understood it, there exists within a service district the capability to levy a property tax. Ms. Beeker stated that the Board has the ability to impose a tax in the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District as a County Water and Sewer District that is district wide. The only other way the Board can do this is to have a true service district, not just a service area.
Mr. Nicholson informed the Board that he has again been approached by the Etowah Lion=s Club about the possibility of getting sewer service to the Etowah park. The system that is in place is just to handle domestic waste. It does not allow them to do cooking, which is what they are seeking. The Health department has stated that the septic system serving the school can handle the addition. Mr. Nicholson will continue to work with the Lion=s Club on this project.
Chairman Moyer asked if there were any recommendations on the package plant servicing the Justice Academy. The question is whether there is extra capacity, and if it could be made available. Mr. Tweed stated the plant was set up to handle 30,000 gallons. The Justice Academy had requested 20,000 gallons. They are paying for 20,000 gallons per day, though they have never used that much. The other 10,000 gallons are available. Chairman Moyer stated that the availability of that line should be taken into account when working on the County Comprehensive Plan.
Chairman Moyer made the motion for the Board to go into closed session as allowed pursuant to NCGS 143-318.11 for the following reasons:
1.(a)(3) To consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged. To consult with an attorney employed or retained by the public body in order to consider and give instructions to the attorney with respect to a claim:
Village of Flat Rock et. al. V. Swing et al
(Henderson County File No. 00-CVS-1189)
Commissioner Messer made the motion to go out of Closed Session. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Moyer made the motion to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Amy R. Brantley, Deputy Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman