By: Allen Turner, The News Reporter
Columbus County commissioners, following a nearly two-hour closed session Monday night, unanimously agreed to add customers of the Riegelwood Sanitary District (RSD) to the county’s water system and voted to lower the rate for industrial and municipal customers throughout the county from $7.10 to $4.45 per thousand gallons of water used.
Technically, what commissioners agreed to was the acceptance of a gift to the county by the RSD.
Commissioners agreed to terms of a resolution passed a week earlier by the board of the RSD moving all tangible assets (except accounts receivable, cash and bank accounts) to the county, including any storage tanks, connections and meters and all easements and rights of way to the county. The “gift” also includes all customers of the RSD.
Excluded from the transfer will be real property at 210 Riegelwood Shopping Center and a tank and real property at 207 Waccamaw Rd. They will continue to be owned by RSD.
If the transition goes as planned, RSD customers will receive one more monthly water bill from the RSD, with all future bills after that coming from Columbus County Water and Sewer District IV, according to Harold Nobles, the county’s director of public utilities.
Monday’s closed session also was devoted to personnel issues, economic development and attorney-client privilege, although no other action was taken after the closed session.
Department of Social Services Director Algernon McKenzie met with commissioners for a portion of the closed session. In other business during the public portion of the meeting that preceded the closed session, commissioners spent less than a minute in rejecting without any discussion an application by Med1 NC Services for a franchise to operate a non-emergency ambulance service in the county.
Commissioner Ricky Bullard made a motion that was seconded by Charles McDowell and unanimously approved to keep the county’s medical transport franchise list “as is,” despite the fact that Med1 representatives and Tabor City Mayor Pro Tem Lamont Grate were in the audience. Grate was there to tell commissioners that the Tabor City town council endorsed Med1’s plan to locate in Tabor City, creating about 40 jobs. However, neither Grate nor the Med1 representatives were offered a chance to speak.
Commissioners did not hear a scheduled presentation from a representative of the U.S. Census Bureau because the census representative failed to show up for the meeting. In other business, commissioners scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. on a public transportation grant; heard a DSS departmental update from McKenzie and, as reported elsewhere in this issue; held three public hearings and took action on economic development matters; heard an update on security and safety in county buildings from Purchasing and Safety Director Stuart Carroll and recognized Tanner David Wilson for earning the Eagle award, the highest honor in Boy Scouting.