Lenoir approves borrowing for big projects

Jan. 08, 2014 @ 08:32 AM

The Lenoir City Council approved borrowing more than $1.7 million for various projects Tuesday night, and the council accepted a bid for replacing a road bridge.

A no-interest, $1,275,000 loan will help the city pay for replacing sewer lines along Meadowood Drive. The project involves an 8,000-foot section of 12-inch sewer line that is more than 40 years old and deteriorating, causing the city numerous problems in recent years.

Council Member T.J. Rohr voted against taking the loan, not because the work isn't needed but because the fact that Lenoir will not pay interest on the loan means that the lender is passing the cost to others.

Council Member Ben Willis said that while he agrees with Rohr, the sewer improvements were needed.

The council also approved $487,000 in financing from BB&T, with an interest rate of 1.36 percent, to help pay for a street sweeper, garbage trucks, police cars and improvements at the Lenoir Aquatic and Fitness Center, City Manager Lane Bailey said.

And the council accepted a bid by NHM Constructors LLC to replace a Fairview Drive bridge that crosses Lower Creek for $689,397.03. That was more than $100,000 less than the next lowest bid.

After a closed session, the city council also voted to buy a former manufacturing property on College Avenue and Virginia Street that the city hopes to clean up and sell for commercial use. The price of the property will be roughly equivalent to the cost of property taxes due on the site, Bailey said.

He said the city intends to apply for $200,000 in Brownfields Cleanup Funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which supplies the funds to cleanup former business sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances.

Applied Abatement Demolition and Trucking, a demolition and general contractor, currently owns the property, which it originally intended to turn into a recycling center.