ROCKINGHAM — Property owners adjacent to Ledbetter Lake would have to borrow $2.3 million over the next 30 years to get the dam repaired and the lake — well, back to a lake again.
In the board room on Tuesday at Richmond County Airport, County Manager Rick Sago told the Richmond County Board of Commissioners that interested alone would amount to $1.7 million, or more than half the original loan amount.
“There’s one property owner out there who will have to pay $119,000 over the next 30 years for that dam,” said Sago. “They need to find a way to do this cheaper.”
During the Board of Commissioners meeting on April 7 in downtown Rockingham, Frank Parker and Ledbetter Lake Dam Management Inc. requested of the commissioners to seek state legislators’ assistance to allow affected property oweners to pay a special fee that would fund repairs to the dam.
On Tuesday, the commissioners approved a resolution to request that the county’s legislative delegation to Raleigh introduce local legislation that would allow the county to impose a fee-supported dam repair district for all properties contiguous to Ledbetter Lake.
A petition has circulated among those property owners affected, and Sago said Tuesday that 54 percent of the owners with land at the lake have signed the petition in favor of the fee. Those property owners own 63 percent of the affected property.
Said Sago, “We’re trying to get 140 property owners on the same page.”
E. Rockingham Fire Dept. seeks to expand
Donna Wright, director of Richmond County Emergency Services, spoke to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday over a request from East Rockingham Fire Department to go from a Rural Fire District to a Service District and add a substation to its area of service.
Wright said East Rockingham Fire Department’s funds are from a 3-mile tax district, and the department serves a population of 6,217 residents — or 2,452 households.
The property values for 2013 in East Rockingham’s tax district was slightly more than $98 million. The tax rate is 10 cents per $100 valuation, and in the 2013 tax year, on behalf of East Rockingham Fire Department, residents were billed $98,045.77, said Wright.
East Rockingham FD protects $216,278,110 in real estate values and based on the current tax rate, that number would equate to a new annual service tax of $216,278 — or 220 percent more than the current funding
Wright said it costs approximately $7,000 per firefighter to make sure they have the right equipment and training, plus the cost of the fire trucks and engines that run as much as $500,000 each. The $216,000 doesn’t stretch as far as the ERFD would like so they do their barbecue sales to help raise money, said Wright.
The addition of a smaller substation would expand the district and help to make East Rockingham a service district thus including more residences and providing a larger tax base for the East Rockingham Fire Department.
Meetings could be streamed live online
At the Board of Commissioners meeting held Tuesday at the Richmond County Airport, Jimmy Quick, information technology director, requested the board to authorize bids in order to update the equipment for Public Education and Government Channel.
Quick said the equipment in service now is almost 20 years old with the DVD players that play the commissioners meetings dating back as much as 15 years.
“We’d like to replace all the equipment in the commissioners’ quarters,” said Quick. “Moving from standard TV to HDTV.”
Quick also mentioned a presentation station which would allow someone to plug up a computer or any device into the station without having to wheel out a cart to the middle of the room.
In addition, Quick would also like to be able to stream meetings straight to the Internet for anyone with web access but without Time Warner cable.
“This would allow video-on-demand to be used so an individual can go back to, say, a September meeting and go to the exact moment they want in the meeting,” said Quick.
The total cost of the expenses, Quick said, equates to $223,959. Quick added that PEG channel project financing from Raleigh is $45,000 per year for the next four years and $41,250 in year five — paying for nearly the entire cost.
Quick put in a request for bids to go out for equipment. He is expected to provide an update at next month’s meeting.