BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Town Council discussed a substantially amended wastewater agreement between the town, Children’s Hope Alliance, and Iredell County in which Iredell County will provide all project funds through the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) at its Monday afternoon meeting.
The original agreement was approved unanimously in August of 2020 after three years of negotiations. In that contract, the county would have paid up to $202,000 of the estimated $856,000 project, which would improve services to the county-owned recreation center and fairgrounds. Troutman was slated to pay for the rest of the project.
The project also connected to existing sewer lines at CHA after it corrected any infiltration and inflow (I/I) problems, as indicated by system testing, to Troutman’s satisfaction.
After the agreement was signed, the project stalled before recently being revived and revised through a series of meetings between the parties.
Under the revised contract to be considered by the council on Thursday night at its regular meeting, the project was downsized to a cost of approximately $500,000, which will upgrade the Iredell Avenue pump station and cover all construction and materials costs to connect to CHA and county facilities just north of Troutman.
After completion, the county and CHA would become sewer customers of the town. CHA would still have to repair its I/I problems before connecting to Troutman’s system.
Town Attorney Gary Thomas said both the county and CHA have indicated they are ready to sign the new agreement.
Though the project is now completely paid for by outside funds, saving the town hundreds of thousands of dollars, the downsized project will not solve some long-term issues the original project would have addressed.
Town Engineer Benji Thomas recommends the council approve the agreement and look to solve the issues with obsolete pump stations and old lines in other ways.
Though plenty of capacity currently exists, Town Manager Ron Wyatt noted that the town is nearing its current sewer capacity limit in the northern part of town with already approved development, so it must be cautious with any more expansion in that area.
Wyatt said that five pump stations are problematic, and line repairs are needed in older sections. Wyatt hopes that a collaboration with Statesville, Iredell County, and ARP funds might result in long-term solutions along I-L Creek.
Council members plan to stay on the current meeting schedule of the first Monday and second Thursday of each month, but with some agendas quite heavy, as is this month’s, they agreed that some may need to be split into two meetings.
Council member Eddie Nau also wants all town meetings to be run more strictly according to Roberts Rules of Order. He stated concerns with public comment exceeding three minutes (5 minutes for public hearings) that have caused meetings to run very long.
The October Planning and Zoning meeting ended after 11 p.m., and one project was not heard because of the late hour, causing a month delay in council’s consideration and contributing to the jam-packed December agenda.
Nau also commented that speakers cannot defer their time to others and that spectators should remain quiet and respectful during other speakers’ time. They also should be allowed to speak only once, not multiple times, as has occurred at recent planning meetings.
Thomas noted that council could set these limits for other boards and require them adhere to these rules for more efficient and respectful operation.
Wyatt noted that many speakers live in the 28166 area code but are not town residents, although they are affected by town decisions. However, the council and other boards will make decisions based on the best interests of Troutman town residents and taxpayers.
The council will recognize outgoing council member Sally Williams for her distinguished service prior to the swearing-in of re-elected Mayor Pro Tem Paul Henkel and newly elected members Felina Harris and Jerry Oxsher at the end of the council meeting.
THURSDAY NIGHT’S AGENDA
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the council will consider:
♦ Annexation and rezoning of 159 acres at the intersection of Oswalt-Amity Road and Highway 21 for the Troutman Logistics Project (rejected by Planning and Zoning).
♦ Rezoning and annexation of the 41-acre Winecoff Village 90 single-family home development on Winecoff Street (approved by Planning and Zoning).
♦ Annexation and rezoning of the Rocky Creek mixed residential 53-acre development on the southwest side Highway 21 north of Ostwalt-Amity Road. Developers plan 95 single-family homes,169 townhomes, and nearly 2 acres of commercial outparcel in the project (rejected by Planning and Zoning).
♦ Rezoning request for nearly 2 acres at 403 Lytton Street from central business to conditional central business to facilitate building 24 townhomes in phase 2 of the existing 6 unit Lytton Street Townhomes project, located to the south of this property (approved by Planning and Zoning).
♦ Annexation and rezoning of just over 6 acres at 134 Honeycutt Road to build up to 7 homes (approved by Planning and Zoning).
♦ A resolution to apply for CRTPO funds to replace the outdated 2009 Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
♦ Approval of purchase of body cameras and in-car cameras to replace outdated and malfunctioning equipment for the Troutman Police Department.