Town of Ellerbe began the contract process Monday night for the Wastewater Regionalization Initiative for a sewer line from Rockingham to Ellerbe.
Jim Perry, executive director, Lumber River Council of Governments, advising agency, presented a preliminary contract for town commissioners to consider.
Commissioner John Sears Jr. asked for time to study the contract. Commissioners were asked to submit any questions or requests for changes to the preliminary proposal to Town Attorney Bill Webb within the next seven days so other parties involved could consider it.
Perry said the final draft would have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Since the project involves Ellerbe, Rockingham and Richmond County, he said all will have to be in agreement on the contract.
The draft proposes a capacity of 250,000 gallons of raw sewage a day to be processed by the Rockingham Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The town would be billed by Rockingham from readings on a master meter at the lift station at the south end of the town’s line.
Commissioners approved the engineering firm of Hobbs, Upchurch and Associates of Southern Pines for the design.
The proposed contract has Ellerbe designing the line which would be maintained by Rockingham.
The City of Rockingham has offered to charge the Town of Ellerbe its industrial rate of $2.30 per 1,000 gallons of sewage processing for a five-year period. After checking with the N.C. Institute of Government, Webb said a five-year contract was good.
Sears wondered if the contract could include that any future rate increases be made only if the city’s industrial rate is raised.
He said the new line would be an economic boon to the county and Rockingham. In addition to servicing Ellerbe, it would be available to other customers between Ellerbe and Rockingham.
Rockingham will present its comments also on the draft contract. Webb said it may end up looking different from the original presented Monday night. He said Rockingham may consider a maintenance fee for the line.
“There is a lot to talk about before the final contract,” Webb said.
The project will include environmental assessments. The line will follow along U.S. 220 from Rockingham to Ellerbe.
Perry suggested the town consider planning for potential future growth around U.S. 220 Bypass Interchanges 8, 10 and 11, which might be developed with the availability of sewer service.
He said Rockingham might ask Ellerbe to consider adoption of a sewer use ordinance similar to its own. “Standard stuff,” Perry said.
Commissioners declared April to be Purple Ribbon Month in Ellerbe following a request from Candy Martin representing Relay For Life.
Martin said the Richmond County effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society last year raised the most money per capita of any county in North Carolina.
Sears said three volunteers with the Ellerbe Fire Department are being considered for state training on fireworks safety to meet requirements of a new state law. The department conducts the Fourth of July fireworks each year at the Ellerbe Lions Club Park.
Commissioner Buddy Cooper said the sign-up period for 4, 5 and 6-year-olds for ball teams will be extended. He said the town is still taking applications from volunteers to assist with the program.
Cooper said more parking space has been added at the ball park in improvements which included altering bleachers for greater safety.
Mayor Olivia Webb said she was meeting with county officials on issues related to animal control in the town.
She said she has been communicating with officials of the N. C. Department of Transportation about some type of signage along the U.S. 220 Bypass which would feature Ellerbe attractions.
Mayor Webb appointed Michael McRae to represent the Town of Ellerbe on the Richmond County Hospice Board of Directors. Ellerbe resident McRae is involved in the health care field in Moore County.