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Calabash 'Intends' To Purchase Carolina
Blythe; Or Maybe Not
BY ERIC CARLSON gain access to previously withheld
ITic Calabash Board of Com- information the board feels it needs
missioners on Tuesday unanimously to determine whether acquiring
agreed to notify the president of Carolina Blythc would Ik in the
Carolina Blythe Utilities that the town's best interest.
town "intends" to purchase the com- "The purchase will be predicated
pany. on our thorough study of your facili
But that doesn't necessarily mean ties, operating and maintenance cost,
the town will buy the sewage treai- profit and loss statements, all con
ment operation that serves the tracts, customer information and any
Carolina Shores golf and retirement other pertinent information we may
community. require to assure our town that this
The commissioners agreed to purchase is advantageous to us," the
write the letter of intent to company letter said.
president Billy Burnett in order to Calabash considered buying
Carolina Blylhc early in its planning March 17 telephone conversation,
for a municipal sewer system. But Burnett indicated he would give the
negotiations with Burnett broke town the information it needs only if
down after he set a "non-negotiable" the town sends him a "letter of in
asking price of $4.5 million refused tent to purchase" the company,
to allow the town's engineers access "I don't know that we intend to
to his books. purchase it," said Commissioner
Board members have also ex- Keith Hardee.
pressed concerns about unknown fi- "Perhaps we should remove the
nancial agreements Burnett might word 'intends' and say 'is interested
have with customers and potential in purchasing,"' suggested Mayor
users that the town would have to George Anderson.
take on if it bought the company. "That's the word he wants,"
Commissioner Theodora Altreu- Altreuter replied.
ter told the board Tuesday that in a Town Attorney Michael Ramos
said the qualifying language in the
letter assures that the town would
not be legally committing itself to a
"As far as binding yourself,
you're not," Ramos said. "If you
don't like it, you don't have to buy
Commissioner ForTCSt King ex
pressed conccrn announcing plans to
reopen negotiations with Burnett
might "send the wrong signal" to the
town of Sunset Beach, which has
joined Calabash in forming the
South Brunswick Water and Sewer
The comment sparked a brief flur
ry of heckling from Carolina Shores
residents in the audience who op
pose the joint sewerage venture.
"We are in a partnership with
them," King said.
After discussing who should sign
the letter, the board agreed that the
names of the mayor and all of the
commissioners should appear on the
The letter advises Burnett that
representatives of the town will con
tact him "to arrange for a mutually
convenient time to meet and begin
In other business the board heard
a report from Commissioner Alvin
Leiscy on a recent meeting of the
town's Ixing Range Planning com
mittee. He said the group agreed that
the town should consider including
in th#? tirvv^mino hnHoPt In hir<>
iuiiurt ... ?.v -| e -
a town administrator.
The committee also discussed an
nexation. the need to identify a pos
sible site for a new town hall, the
creation of a public park and ways
of attracting a nursing home or con
valescent care facility to the area.
Commissioner Jon Sanborn sug
gested that the committee should set
its priorities for the coming year and
include the necessary funding rec
ommendations in its upcoming bud
The board also voted to allow the
Calabash Volunteer Fire Department
to hold its annual fund raising
"bucket shakes" at the intersection
of N.C. 179 and River Road.
County Adds Its Support To Sewer Authority
BY SUSAN USHER
Brunswick County Commis
sioners committed Monday to help
ing develop wastewater management
services in southwestern Brunswick
County by transferring some of its
powers lo the South Brunswick
Water & Sewer Authority and be
coming one of its members.
Both moves are subject to condi
tions aimed at protecting the inter
ests of county taxpayers.
The authority is the quasi-govern
mental unit being created by the
towns of Sunset Beach and Calabash
to operate a $34.9 million sewer sys
tem proposed to serve much of
southwestern Brunswick County.
County participation and transfer
of certain of its powers hinge first
on passage of a sewer bond referen
iiuiM hv Sunset Beach voters 2nd re*
alization of the funding package
sought by the authority.
If the vote is yes at Sunset Beach,
the authority will swing into action
to formalize its existence and to
complete system design and applica
tions for low-interest loans it ex
pects to receive from the state.
The authority expects to borrow
$3.8 million from the N.(\ State Re
volving I .oan I u ml and $5 million
from the N.C. Clean Water Bond
loan fund. hoth administered by the
N.( Division of Knvironmental
Management Those loans arc avail
able on condition that the authority
have the ability to require residents
and businesses in the service area to
connect to the system. The authority
has no power of it>> own to mandate
hook-on. It must be granted thai dis
cretionary power by its local gov
The service district ranges from
the Calabash area near the South
Carolina state line back along N.C.
|7<) in ("Voan Haven subdivision, in
cluding properties along N.C. 179.
Old Georgetown Road, a section of
N.C. l>()4 extending to Lion's Paw
golf course, the town of Sunset
Beach and, unless Calabash Com
missioners rcscind their earlier deci
sion. the downtown business district
and surrounding neighborhoods in
In addition to the loans, the sys
tem is expected to be financed by
$2f>.l million in revenue bonds is
sued by the authority itself, not by
its individual members. As the name
suggests, revenue bonds are repaid
by income generated from the sys
tem through user fees and assess
ments. not by levying taxes.
1'he authority has said the waste
water mangement program is to be
paid for entirely from user fees and
to not involve any permanent oblig
ation of funds or the tax base of its
member local governments. Repay
ment of funds advanced by local
governments for the project are to be
covered by interlocal agreements ne
gotiated with the authority.
Sunset Beach Town Council says
it has no intention of issuing the $5
million in general obligation bonds it
is asking voters to approve April 5.
Voting unanimously Monday
night. Brunswick County Commis
sioners linked the county's approval
of the interlocal agreements or con
tracts needed to allow the authority to
require connections of the sewer sys
tem within its service area, provided:
?that they do not require the di
rect expenditure of county funds or
an obligation of the property tax
base of the county; and
?that they provide a methiKl of
deferred payment and or grant sub
sidy for eligible county residents
who cannot afford the cost of con
necting to the wastewater system.
Engineers for the sewer project
envision the authority eventually be
coming a total wastewater manage
ment entity. It would not only oper
ate a regional wastewater collection,
treatment and disposal system, but
perhaps also operate septic tank
management, stormwatcr manage
ment and sedimentation and control
programs for its steadily expanding
Board Agrees To Buy
Site, Finance Leland School
BY SUSAN I Nllhk
1 .ocal school officials gol the go
ahcad Monday night from countx
commissioners to procccd w ith con
struction of a $6.4 million elemen
tary school in I fland. but aren't sure
they like the idea ot paying for it on
the installment plan.
Brunswick Count) Commis
sioners unanimously voted to pur
chase from the State Ports Authority
for S12S.IHK) .1 32-acre site on River
Road at an acre, and to fi
nance the school's construction. The
K3,tMK)-square-foot facility will
serve an estimated 7(H) students in
grades kindergarten through five. It
is expected to help relieve over
crowding at both Iceland Middle and
Lincoln Elementary schools.
Responding to a question Com
missioner Donald Shaw said he'd
been asked. Superintendent Ralph
Johnston explained the school board
had sought to have the land donated
but the authority instead had the par
cel appraised and set its price, which
compares well with similar land
sales in the same area. The sale was
approved by the N.C. Council of
State earlier this month.
C'ountv Finance Director I.ithia
ii .iii n the county intends to pay
for the school on the installment
plan by selling certificates of partici
pation that would he paid off over a
period of lit to 20 years. It would re
tain ownership until then, when title
would be transferred to the school
I he certificates could be sold ei
ther on the public market or private
ly to a commercial bank. Ilahn said
the certificates are a means of ob
taining the money quickly anil with
out some of the traditional costs as
sociated with a bond issuance.
Out of the $(>.4 million financed.
Brunswick County would be repaid
the approximately $9K5,0(K) it will
have advanced the I eland project by
the end of the budget year.
Half-cent sales tax revenue that
must be used for school capital pro
jects would be used to pay the inter
est on the long-term debt package.
Commissioners won't take action
on the certificates until June or later,
with the money expected to be avail
able to the school system in August
if the project remains on schedule.
Under the consent agreement
reached between the two boards last
August regarding the Lcland project.
ho(h boards must agree i<> the fi- sion. at the close of their mectinc
nancing plan. The Brunswick Tuesday night commissioners did
County Hoard of Education hasn't what school hoard member Thur
done so yet, though it discussed the man Gausc had been told to expect:
financing plan in light of lite board's They voted to have County Manager
consent judgment with commission- Wyman Yelton and llahn review the
ers in a special exeuctive session last financing plan with the school
I riday night. board.
"We've been apprised of the plan, llahn said Tuesday she didn't
but we hope we're not locked in to know when the briefing would lake
it," said Superintendent of Schools place, but probably at a time re
Ralph Johnston. quested by the school board.
School board Chairman Donna
Baxter and other members said they
have asked tor a joint meeting with
commissioners to discuss construc
tion financing plans. Along with the Varnamtown will hold a public in
Lcland project, they want to hear formation workshop on (he town's
from commissioners on plans for fi- land use plan Monday. March -2X, at
nancing other school construction 7 p.m. at the town hall.
projects included in a five-year-plan Planning consultant Howard
presented lo ami reviewed with Capps will review population and
Commissioners' Chairman Don economic trends and environmental
Warren, llahn and Yelton. issues affecting the town, said Town
"We want lo sit down with the Clerk l.ucllcn Norris. lie will also
lull board and discuss it," said mem- lead discussion of the results of past
ber Polly Russ. "We'd like them all land use planning meetings,
to come." Aldermen are encouraging all
Instead ol agreeding to a joint ses- residents of the town to participate.
Land Use Plan Is
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