By Jesse Wood
Nov. 12, 2014. The Boone Town Council will hold a public hearing on extending the $25-million bond order for the town’s water intake system by three years. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on Blowing Rock Road.
In 2008, 73 percent of town voters approved the $25-million bond referendum for a new intake system. Two years later, the Boone Town Council accepted a $20.5 million loan from the USDA to finance the project.
The bond order went into effect on Nov. 4, 2008, and would expire in November 2015, if not extended from seven to 10 years.
A notice announcing the public hearing from the Town of Boone states that the Boone Town Council “has ascertained and herby determines that it is necessary to pay the capital costs of acquiring, constructing and equipping facilities for a new water source along the South Fork of the New River, including the costs of related studies, plans and design; acquiring land and rights-of-way in land and installing water transmission lines related to acquisition of the new water source; [and] renovating the Town of Boone Water Treatment Plant in order to increase its daily capacity, including improvements to and the acquisition and installation of plant equipment.”
Council members and town staff have expressed frustration in past meetings at all of the unforeseen obstacles in the way of finishing the project and how long project has taken to complete. It was initially expected to take five years after the vote on the bond referendum. Last year, Boone Public Utilities Director Rick Miller said that town has encountered “a lot more hurdles than you could ever dream of for on a project like this” and that it would take less than three years to construct all the pipes, build the facility and pump station and so forth.
New River Advocates, a nonprofit that was formed in opposition of the intake, have requested that members of the community who don’t support the project to attend the hearing and speak out against the water intake.
“This may be our last chance to stop the intake,” according to an email from the New River Advocates.
The group states that in order for the N.C. Local Government Commission to extend the time and comply with the Local Government Bond Act, the town must schedule a public hearing.
“We fear the town may not pay much heed to the results of this hearing since they have already made application for the time extension and have already received pre-approval from the Local Government Commission. Receiving approval before the hearing is probably illegal or at least should be,” the group states.
For past stories on the water intake, click here.
See the notice for the public hearing below:
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