Brunswick County, Town of Navassa enter into utility acquisition agreement

07.02.2020

Brunswick County, Town of Navassa enter into utility acquisition agreement

Brunswick County assumed ownership and operational responsibility of the Town’s water and sewer system July 1, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners recently moved to unanimously accept ownership and operational responsibility of the Town of Navassa’s water and sewer systems, initiating an important step toward improving the Town’s utility infrastructure and furthering the County’s commitment to providing a strong regional option for the benefit of the county’s utility systems and customers.

“We appreciate the effort and cooperation between the Town of Navassa and Brunswick County Public Utilities throughout this process,” Chairman Frank Williams said. “Brunswick County is committed to providing safe, quality water and sewer service to the residents of Navassa and to all of Brunswick County, and look forward to working with the Town of Navassa to make this transition as seamless as possible.”

Staff from both the Town’s leadership and the County’s Public Utilities teams worked to finalize the agreement for the commissioners’ final review and approval at the June 15 regular meeting.

“It was with great unity the Navassa Town Council voted to approve the agreement for the conveyance of the Town of Navassa’s utility system to the County,” said Barnes Sutton, Director of Planning and Development for the Town of Navassa. “The decision was consistent with many of our goals and policies in our adopted plans prioritizing safe drinking water and sanitary sewer—a goal in which we believe we can better realize by means of this agreement. The Town of Navassa ultimately made this decision with our citizens in mind but also, with the intent in rendering access to water and sewer service more affordable, for the greater Brunswick County region.”

The County assumed ownership and operational responsibility of the water and sewer system July 1, 2020. Navassa water and/or sewer customers will not need to take any action in response to this merger. The County is working with the Town of Navassa to transfer all customer accounts to the Brunswick County Utility Billing Services department.

“We recognize the hard work our staff and partners at the Town of Navassa put in to bring this opportunity to fruition, and we thank them for their continuous service to their community,” County Manager Randell Woodruff said. “This partnership not only supports the residents of Navassa, but also the purpose and vision of the commissioners’ strategic goal to seek infrastructure development/expansion opportunities for the benefit of all our utility customers.”

Discussions between the Town and County began in October 2019 when the Town of Navassa requested a proposal outlining a potential merger and acquisition of the Town’s water and sewer system into the County’s system.

The Board of Commissioners gave the County approval to submit a proposal to the Town to acquire its system at its Oct. 7 meeting. The Navassa Town Council indicated initial acceptance of entering into an agreement with the County during a Nov. 21 regular meeting and approved staff to enter into negotiations on the proposed agreement.

Brunswick County’s leadership is committed to providing clean, affordable and efficient drinking water to the county’s wholesale, retail and industrial customers. The County is open to providing proposals and working with other county-based utilities interested in having another entity acquire their system to discuss the process and potential benefits that a regional option offers customers.

The County most recently worked with leadership at the City of Northwest to merge the City’s utility system with the county system; the County officially assumed ownership and operational responsibility of the City’s system Jan. 1, 2020.

Key Points About the Town of Navassa’s Water and Sewer System and Interlocal Agreement

  • The Town of Navassa has 325 water customers and 321 sewer customers.
  • The Town currently purchases its finished water from Brunswick County, which is sourced from the Cape Fear River.
  • As part of the interlocal agreement, the Town has agreed to transfer its public water distribution system to the County, which includes 10.41 miles of distribution water lines, 40 valves, 20 fire hydrants, 325 customer meters, land, easements, rights-of-way and related facilities.
  • The Town will also transfer its public sanitary sewer collection system that it owns and operates with 11.74 miles of gravity and pressure sewers, a collection system with manholes, six lift stations, force mains, valves, air release valves, service taps, service laterals, clean-outs, land, easements, rights-of-way, and related facilities.
  • The County has agreed to make required improvements to integrate the Town’s systems into the overall County water and sewer systems. The County will be responsible for the cost of the improvements, maintenance and any necessary expansions to the water and sewer Systems to accommodate planned growth and development to serve present and future needs.
  • The County has agreed to assume responsibility for the following existing debt associated with the systems (The County’s obligation for the Town’s existing water and sewer system debt obligations is limited to those specifically listed below. The County will not assume or reimburse any loans made between the Town General Fund and the Town Enterprise Fund):
    • USDA Loan 91-03 for water line extensions, with principal balance of approximately $26,560.86, plus accrued interest at time of payoff.
    • NCDENR loan for sewer with principal balance of approximately $440,786.25, plus accrued interest at time of payoff.
    • The County will also release Navassa from its debt to the County for the 2012B Plant Expansion capital charges in the approximate amount of $509,951, and any other debt, assessment or charge owed by Navassa pursuant to the Northeast Brunswick Regional Wastewater Project Sewer Service Agreement dated July 26, 2001, including any subsequent amendments, modifications, or extensions of that Agreement.

More details about the agreement and the agenda item concerning the conveyance of the Town of Navassa’s utility system to Brunswick County are under the June 15 meeting agenda item.

More information about Brunswick County Public Utilities is at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/utilities/

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