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Whiteville Council to consider Duke bid on land for substation

By Allen Turner, The News Reporter

The potential sale of three tracts of land and a mysterious closed session to presumably talk about the sale of other unnamed tracts will highlight Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the Whiteville City Council that gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at 24 Hill Plaza.

Duke Energy Carolinas has offered to purchase eight acres of city property on Flitter Hill Road adjacent to the Nolan Recreation Center Complex/Park for $90,000. The utility would like to relocate their power substation from its current location in the flood plain, in a swamp area just off Franklin Street, and studies by Duke identified the city property as being the most suitable for a relocation.

The city has been in negotiations with Duke Energy since August, but hadn’t received a formal offer until Thursday. The $90,000 bid was negotiated in talks between the utility and City Attorney Carlton Williamson and City Manager Darren Currie.

Should Council accept the Duke offer when it considers the bid in open session, the offer will be subject to upset bids and anyone can raise the bid in increments of at least 10 percent.

Council also will consider an offer from the N.C. Dept. of Transportation to purchase two small tracts of land located in the swamp area of the city on either side of J.W. Powell Boulevard. The DOT needs the land for the Powell Boulevard widening project. Agenda materials distributed ahead of the meeting do not specify the amount of DOT’s offer, but a discussion is included in the open session portion of the agenda.

However, a closed session also is scheduled at the end of the meeting “to discuss a matter related to the potential and negotiated sale of property.” The N.C. Open Meetings law permits closed session for the discussion of the acquisition of property, but no such authorization exists in the law for closed sessions to talk about selling or disposing of property. A memo in the agenda packet about the closed session provides no information about what property is to be discussed.

In other business, Matt Oakley of Oakley Collier Architects will update Council on the new city hall under construction. Oakley is expected to talk about a construction timeline, schedule of building and design and answer questions from council members related to the project.

Council also will consider approval of a resolution designating the city’s agent to deal with FEMA regarding the city’s grant requesting public assistance relating to damage from Hurricane Florence.

Stuart Rogers