Dam project moving forward

Daily Journal file photo Ledbetter Lake, once full of water and activity, has dried to a trickle since cracks in the dam caused it to dry out.

By William R. Toler | wtoler@civitasmedia.com

ROCKINGHAM — Residents with shoreline property along Ledbetter Lake could be paying a little extra over the next 15 years for dam repairs.

Included on the agenda for tonight’s Board of Commissioners meeting are three items relating to the dam project, including a preliminary assessment resolution, a resolution in support of the financing plan and the project’s bid tab.

The project, expected to take up to 10 months to complete, is estimated to cost around $2.7 million: $1.8 million for the actual work; with the remainder being legal fees and interest.

County Manager Rick Sago said the price tag could change, depending on the actual costs.

The project includes: repairs to the Ledbetter Lake Dam and ancillary structures, features and amenities associated with the dam; landscaping in the vicinity of the dam and construction and improvement of any roads or access areas leading to or from the dam.

The total also includes costs associated with developing and financing public improvements, including the costs of establishing, administering and operating the special assessment district.

According to Sago, the county will borrow the money based on the property owners being assessed to cover the annual debt cost.

Documents included in the agenda show that those with waterfront property will be paying an annual assessment of $5.68 for each foot of shoreline. Most property owners would be paying between $500-$800 annually. However, there are some tabs that run into the thousands — up to $31,440.29 — of dollars.

According to a spreadsheet — listing property owners, their property values, taxes and shoreline footage — 83 percent have signed a revised petition. Additionally, 16 have not signed, seven have given no response and four are listed as “no decision.”

“We want to make it very clear that the county will not own the dam,” Sago said. “The county has not pledged its full taxing authority to pay this assessment, and the construction contract will be with the LLC that has been created to own the dam, not the county Board of Commissioners. The only ones that will pay for this project will be the waterfront property owners.”

Sago also said that per the board’s policy, no comments on the project will be allowed during the open forum portion of the meeting since the project is on the agenda.

The first public hearing is scheduled for the Aug. 4 commissioners meeting.

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.