Commissioners approve funding for Riverstone Industrial Park water line

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ALBEMARLE –– The Stanly County Commission approved an amendment to the county budget that would recognize additional general fund appropriations and a loan in order to run a water line down Browns Hill Road out to the Riverstone Industrial Park.

Herrin Industrial, Inc gave the lowest bid, at just under $862,000, and was chosen as the contractor to fulfill the project. Other bids reached well over $1 million.

Board members commented that Herrin was a “good company” and their location on the border with Stanly County would mean the project would support a local business and workers from the area.

The county was able to secure a zero-interest loan from the NC Electric Membership Cooperative for $750,000, and the remainder would be appropriated from the general fund.

Even though the loan has been approved by the NC Electric Membership Cooperative, North Carolina counties need to have their loans approved by the Local Government Commission (LGC), and this loan still needs that approval. County manager Andy Lucas said there are some nuances in the process and it’s not completely guaranteed this loan will be approved by the LGC.

“In full transparency, depending on how the collateral works for that, we may or may not get acceptance from LGC for that loan,” said Lucas during the April 1 meeting. “So, we may have to come back and do general fund money for this project.”

If the loan ends up not being approved, the commission would then need to pass another budget amendment appropriating the remainder to come from the general fund.

When asked by the Commission whether there were any “prospects of any companies coming” to the industrial park, Lucas said he was aware of at least three active projects that were looking at the property and others with high interest.

“The long and short is, do we have someone chomping at the bit to build something tomorrow? No. But it’s like anything else. You’ve got to build it. It’s got to be ready to mitigate the concerns that a potential project may have in terms of their timeline,” said Lucas.

It would take about a month for the contractor to mobilize resources and get ready to begin with another four months required to complete the water line.

Lucas said that due to the Commission’s “prudent financial management,” even if the loan was not approved by the LGC, they would have more than enough available in the general fund to cover this project and maintain a healthy balance, saying, “the reserves are in a good place.”