Town Council To Consider Purchasing Land To Facilitate Water Storage Tank

The Town of Carolina Beach has been in negotiations with the Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church this year in order to purchase a portion of their property in order to facilitate construction of a new water storage tank and treatment plant at 801 N. Dow Road. The Council purchased the Dow Road property earlier this year for $400,000 and needs additional room to locate the new storage tank adjacent to the existing water tower and the church property.  The Town of Carolina Beach has been in negotiations with the Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church this year in order to purchase a portion of their property in order to facilitate construction of a new water storage tank and treatment plant at 801 N. Dow Road. The Council purchased the Dow Road property earlier this year for $400,000 and needs additional room to locate the new storage tank adjacent to the existing water tower and the church property.

Town Council To Consider Purchasing Land To Facilitate Water Storage Tank Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:01

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council voted unanimously during their December 12th, meeting to purchase property at 801 N. Dow Road to accommodate a future water treatment plant.

Since that time the Town has been negotiating with the neighboring Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church to acquire land to accommodate a new water storage tank on the Dow Road property.

According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, "One of the main components of the improvements to the Town of Carolina Beach water system is the future development of a water treatment plant that would help improve taste, odor and general water quality throughout the community. The town has an opportunity to purchase property adjacent to our current water tower on Dow Road that would be the ideal location for the future water treatment plant."

He explained, "This purchase would be funded through the transfer of unappropriated fund balance in the Utility Fund and would be reimbursed to the Utility Fund following LGC Financing."

The cost of the purchase was $400,000 and was paid for from a savings fund within the Town's Utility Fund.

Cramer said in the future those funds can be reimbursed to the Utility Fund following approval by the North Carolina Local Government Commission for the Town to obtain a loan in that amount.

The property was purchased from RJD Properties, LLC, a North Carolina Limited Liability Company.

The Town is working with  the neighboring Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church to locate a new three million gallon water storage tank behind the church. The church property borders Town property which would be combined with the 801 N. Dow Road property and future water treatment plant.

The older existing million gallon storage tank located off Cape Fear Blvd was built decades ago and has been repaired numerous times over the years. Due to age, the Town began searching for a new location over five years ago. The Town asked the U.S. Army for permission to build a new tank on property off Dow Road. The Town has leased land from the Army since the early 1970's to operate a sewer treatment plant. The Army recently declined to permit construction of a water tank on that property. The land is part of the Army's Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point and serves as a "buffer zone" for the munitions port.

The storage tank helps to meet demand during busier times of the year when summer tourism traffic increases.

On Tuesday December 5th, Cramer explained, "The property from the church will house the new 3 million gallon water tank.  The 801 Dow Road property is for a future water treatment plant."

Cramer said the location is ideal because it is close to primary service lines.

During the December 12th, meeting Cramer explained, "One of the main components of the improvement projects that we have been working on for our water, sewer and storm water improvements is based around improving the water quality for all residents within the Town. Currently we have 13 wells in which we treat some of the water and other wells that we don't treat any water and it's raw water into the distribution lines. One of the things we've been striving for is a location to go and establish a water treatment plant. It just so happens that we were able to talk to a property owner adjacent to our water tank on Dow Road. And that property owner is interested in selling the property. This a great advantage to us because we have a well at that location, we have a water tank at that location and we will be working to try and put a three million gallon water tank on that location and having the water treatment plant there will make efficiencies with any of the plumbing and infrastructure that we have to do there."

Currently there is a 500,000 gallon elevated water tank on the property. The proposed 3-million gallon tank would be built to a height of 50' feet.

The Town has been in negotiations with the church for many months and recently the church named their price for the land, $101,000. The size of the land to be purchased is a little over 10,000 square feet. That's approximately $10 per square foot.

On July 6th, Cramer wrote to Council in an email explaining there is another option that doesn't require purchasing land from the church, but it will cost more to implement.

Cramer explained, "Last month we discussed having a site plan completed for the Dow Rd properties. I contracted with Brian Cox of Engineering Services to perform the site plan analysis of the property.  The site plan analysis cost $1,500.  Attached for your information and review is a site plan that shows two potential locations for the proposed 3 million gallon water tank and the proposed water treatment plant."

Cramer explained, "Option 1 indicates the water tank would be constructed at the top of the property and includes our current property, the street right-of-way and the church property.  This option would require the purchase of the church property at $101,000 and the reuse of the existing building on the 801 Dow Rd property as the water treatment facility.  Total cost for the purchase of the property and building with this option is approximately $501,000."

He explained, "Option 2 indicates the water tank being constructed in the bottom left corner of the property. This option would not require us to purchase the church property, but it would require us to demolish the existing building on the 801 Dow Rd property and rebuild it on the property.  I have received a budget quote for demolishing the building at $21,000 to $25,000.  I have not received any budget numbers for rebuilding the 4,800 sqft building, but we can use the recent construction of the Operations Center as a guide."

He explained, "The Operations Building was a metal building engineered with several offices and a warehouse space similar to the existing 801 Dow Rd building.  The Operations building is 6,000 sqft and the existing 801 Dow Rd building is 4,800 square feet (sqft). The Operations Building cost approximately $350,000 to build and construct on our property.  It cost the town approximately $400,000 for the property and building at 801 Dow Road.  Using the sqft cost of the Operations building at $58.33 per sqft, we estimate that it would cost the town approximately $280,000 to rebuild the 801 Dow Rd building on the site. Total cost for the purchase of the property. Demo and rebuild of the building with this option is approximately $705,000."

He explained to Council in his email, "I hope this provides you with the information you needed. Please let me know if you have any questions. If we are to purchase the church property I could put the public hearing on the August 14th council meeting.  Please let me know your wishes."

Mayor Joe Benson responded, "Thanks. And yes, please put the topic on the August regular council. A pros and cons slide for each option would be beneficial. Thanks for laying out some rough numbers."

The Town is currently doing work in the building at 801 N. Dow Road.

Cramer explained to Council member Leann Pierce on July 6th, "Since the original intent of the project was to use it as a Water Treatment Plant we started making improvements. Things like general clean up, paint, flooring, storage racks. The previous owner left a lot of junk in the building.  We are also allowing the Police Department to store some equipment and Bike Rodeo stuff in one of the rooms.  We have also surrounded the property with a fence and moved some equipment from the Ops Center to that property. Moving the equipment has given us more room for employee parking at the Ops Center and we will soon not need to use the Church parking lot at all for our staff. The church has been great with helping up park our employees for the past year."

Pierce asked, "Have offices been moved over to this building? How much money has been spent so far on any conversions taking place?"

Cramer responded, "Yes, we have moved five staff members into 3 offices. The plan was to have the water well and pump station staff be the staff that ran the water plant.  That way we wouldn’t need to hire more staff.  We have been cross training staff for the past year and now have enough cross trained staff to cut our about $40,000 a year in overtime. This would be the staff in the building and they would share duties of running the plant. So we moved on that plan as soon as we bought the property.  Staff completed clean up and moved in last week.  It cost us approximately $20,000 to up fit the building.  We did all the work ourselves, except for the electrical.  We had budgeted $200,000 to have a contractor rehab Well house  # 2 and instead we had staff manage the project.  Majority of the work was contracted out and it only cost us about $80,000.  I authorized using $20,000 of the saving from Well House # 2 to get a jump on up fitting the water plant space. The other $100,000 of saving went back into fund balance. We have been talking about inviting council over to see the building, now that it is cleaned up.  Maybe we can do that soon."

The Council is expected to consider the options for purchasing a portion of the church property bordering the Town's property on Dow Road during their upcoming August 14th, meeting.

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