Villas project back on track

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

MURFREESBORO — More documentation regarding the Howard Hunter’s Villas housing development has been provided to town officials here.

Last week, Joyce Peoples with the Quality of Life Association (QUOLA) in Hertford County provided the town with the paperwork, clearing up questions from the Murfreesboro Town Council members.

Included in the documents were bacterial testing reports, certification reports from Appian Engineering, sewer testing reports as well as a list of interested homeowners who have participated in homebuyer/ownership education workshops.

Peoples also provided a financial investment list, which breaks down where the funding for the project is being spent. The list states the following:

Land acquisition: $75,000

Construction: $129,033.82

Engineering: $35,827.65

Consulting, professional support, legal: $43,449.10

Human resource support: $213,555.58

Initiative (the project’s co-developer) staff time: $210,000

Total: $801,465.62

Certification reports from Appian show the expansion of the water/sewer mains have been completed as of April of this year.

In a letter dated April 8, 2008 drafted by Peter E. Sokalski with Appian Engineering to Thomas Ascenzo with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Sokalski writes: “The subdivision mains have been completed and installed, however, the lift station (which is approximately one-half of a mile away) has not been completed at this time. The lift station has been held up for the time being and hopefully will be installed with in the next several months.”

The documents were provided after a meeting between town officials, Initiative and QUOLA representatives.

As for the $104,000 the town was informed it would have to pay in order to finalize the infrastructure and make the necessary upgrades to the lift station, the entities, including the Department of Community Assistance (DCA), discussed splitting the costs.

The Initiative would come up with $75,000, DCA with $50,000 and the town and county with $10,000 each. The amount for the county and town has yet to be approved by the respective governing boards.

Following a receipt of the estimate for upgrading the lift station, the town submitted a request to DCA on behalf of QUOLA in order to reduce the number of homes planned for the Villas from 20 to 10, a time extension on the town’s portion of a 2004 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and to increase funding by $104,000 to finalize infrastructure for the project and make the upgrades to the lift station.

The $200,000 CDBG is nearly three years past its closeout date. Currently there is only $81,851.71 left on the grant.

Previously, town officials agreed to put the project on hold after they were informed by DCA if the project moved forward the town would have to pay the $104,000.

Last week the town officials provided a press release to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald stating after a meeting with Initiative and QUOLA representatives they were satisfied with the answers provided.

The three entities agreed that a memorandum of understanding identifying the responsibilities of the parties for the completion of the project would be outlined.