Caldwell County offers free water connections

May. 20, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

Caldwell County is offering free water connections to residents and businesses not currently connected to county water because the county needs to increase its water usage to meet the terms of its contract to buy water from Lenoir.

The contract between Lenoir and the county stipulates that the county must buy at least 505 million gallons each year. Last year, the county only used 464 million gallons, so the county paid a penalty of more than $100,000, county Finance Officer Tony Helton said.

The county will waive the normal installation cost of $750 for a three-quarter inch tap or $1,050 for a one-inch tap to the first 300 applicants, or until Oct. 31, 2014, whichever comes first, under the proposal that the county commissioners approved Monday night. Applicants must be adjacent to an existing county public water system line.

Applicants will have to remain exclusively on the county water system for three years or else pay the normal installation cost, and they will have to pay a contractor to install a water line from the tap to the residence or business.

In other business Monday night, the commissioners also:

• Set a public hearing for 6 p.m. June 2 on paying incentives to a manufacturer planning a $6 million expansion projected to add 40 jobs, which would pay an average of about $40,000. The company, which economic development officials are referring to only as Project Encore, would be paid an incentive of  $2,000 for every new job that is created. 

• Set a public hearing for 6 p.m. June 2 to consider a request by Arnold Villacorte for a permit to operate a small seafood smoking and packing operation and a punching bag and body pillow manufacturer at a 1.83-acre site at 1311 Dudley Shoals Road. The building there currently is vacant but once was a seafood restaurant.

Villacorte said in his application that all work would be done inside the building with a maximum of five employees, would have little on-site traffic, and while a cooking odor would be released in the air, it shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.

• Scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. June 3 at the Caldwell County Public Library, 120 Hospital Ave. NE in Lenoir, to review and discuss the county’s proposed budget for fiscal 2014-15.

• Set a public hearing for 6 p.m. June 16 on the budget for 2014-15.