Decision reversed

Published 10:01 am Monday, June 11, 2012

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners has reversed its decision on constructing a county EMS substation in Milwaukee.

On Friday, during a reconvened meeting, the board voted 4-0, with Commissioner Fannie Greene absent from the first portion of the meeting, to reverse its original decision and construct the $140,000 Milwaukee EMS substation, which would serve the eastern portion of the county.

At the commissioners’ Monday meeting, EMS Director Charles Joyner and E-911 Director Ronald Storey Jr. presented a funding plan for the project, utilizing $80,000 of E-911 funds to construct the substation in Milwaukee.

As for the other $60,000, Joyner said that could be financed over five years or could be paid out of the current year budget from surplus in the youth detention budget ($48,000) and reprogramming departmental budgets ($12,000), which was identified by Finance Officer Dot Vick.

Joyner said the county-owned property in Milwaukee (on Buck Boone Road) is almost directly in the center of the eastern portion of Northampton County and is 10 minutes from Severn (the most northern town) and Rich Square (the most southern town). Storey said the location could also be used as a satellite E-911 center because of its proximity to a communications tower.

The board rejected, in a 3-2 vote, a motion to locate a substation in Milwaukee, with Commission Chair Virginia Spruill and Vice Chair Robert Carter voting for the measure and Greene, Joseph Barrett and Chester Deloatch voting against the motion.

At Friday’s meeting, Spruill proposed an opportunity for her colleagues to revisit the matter.

“I’m offering to the board this morning the opportunity if you wish to revisit this position, one of the three people who voted no will have to make a motion on reconsideration,” Spruill said during Friday’s meeting.

Barrett moved for the board to reconsider their previous vote. The motion was seconded by Carter and the motion passed without objection.

Carter moved the board approve and allow Heaton Construction Company to construct the substation in Milwaukee on the Buck Boone Road for $140,000. Barrett offered a second on the motion.

Deloatch questioned why there was not more bids submitted for the project.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins said invitations had been sent out twice to every contractor in the county and it was advertised as well. The county received no response with the exception of Heaton Construction.

The motion was carried unanimously.

In a later interview, Jenkins said the $60,000 would be funded by the surplus in the youth detention fund and departmental reprogramming.

At Monday’s meeting, the County Commissioners directed Jenkins to analyze the costs of the Milwaukee site and Woodland’s vacant EMS building, which was voided with information from the Woodland Town Board of Commissioners’ minutes provided by Town Clerk Kim Bryant.

At their regular meeting on Thursday evening the Town Commissioners, by consensus, allowed temporary use of the former Woodland EMS station to the Woodland Fire Department for additional storage.

The need for the additional space comes from Woodland Fire Department recently acquiring a truck from Wake Forest Fire Department.