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City council accepts storm water study that could result in $2 million in grants

By Allen Turner

allenturner@nrcolumbus.com

The Whiteville City Council Tuesday night unanimously accepted a $150,000 storm water study funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, a study that could eventually result in the awarding of other grants of about $2 million for a five-phase storm water improvement program.

Todd Steele, president and principal engineer, and Mark Bacon, business development and grant writer, for Engineering Services, PA, presented the study to the board.

The approach of the study was to evaluate and inventory downtown Whiteville’s man-made and natural drainage systems and determine their conditions and deficiencies. The study investigated ways to address deficiencies, mitigate flooding and reduce property damage.

The study recommends implementation of the five-phase program, pursuit of funding for identified storm water improvements, implementation of an annual storm water maintenance program, conversion of the storm water system base map into an electronic format that can be updated regularly as improvements are made to the system, obtaining of easements or ownership of private systems that are connected to the city system and investigation of the feasibility of establishing a separate storm water utility similar in function to a water and sewer utility.

In other business, council adopted the city’s local water supply plan and water shortage response plans, as is required annually by state law. The also board reappointed Jerry Ganus and Janice Smith to three-year terms to the planning board and board of adjustment.

A public hearing and subsequent decision on a zoning matter had been scheduled for Tuesday to amend the zoning ordinance to allow MedFlight, LLC to have bulk storage of petroleum and products for operation of the medical helicopter at Columbus Regional Healthcare, but the matter was tabled until a subsequent meeting because MedFlight officials were unable to attend Tuesday.

City Manager Darren Currie told council that work is progressing well on the new city all. Exterior walls are going up and structural steel is nearly complete. Currie said exterior walls should be complete by the end of  next week. Currie hopes to have council tour the site prior to the next council meeting and said he would have the architect on hand for the tour.

Currie also told council that interviews of “several qualified applicants” for the new economic planner position have been completed and that he expects to soon make an offer to one of those applicants.

Stuart Rogers