Easement approved

Published 9:58 am Thursday, July 21, 2016

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved an easement agreement between the county and Piedmont Natural Gas that will add $22,721 to county coffers.

Economic Development Director Gary Brown informed the board at their meeting Monday evening that Piedmont was seeking a public utility easement to facilitate construction of its proposed 12-inch natural gas pipeline on NC Highway 48 on the western edge of the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR).

Brown said the pipeline and easement is on the extreme western border of the NCCAR site on the other side of a wetland area and would not affect further expansion of NCCAR.

The NCCAR site is owned by Northampton County.

Brown said he negotiated the price.

Commissioner Joseph Barrett wanted to know how he got the price per acre of land up to $10,000.

Brown replied, “They started low and I started high.”

Barrett said, “So you’re a better horse trader.”

Brown replied, “That day.”

The commissioners noted that the contract between PNG and the county called for confidentiality, which would violate the county’s legal standing as a governmental entity.

County Attorney Scott McKellar said the board could strike that from the contract, which it did.

The county also accepted a bid by Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Co., PA to audit the county’s finances this year.

County Manager Kimberly Turner said the Local Government Commission recommends changing auditing firms and that Northampton County needs an auditing firm with more than two people.

The county had been with it old auditing firm for 20 years, so it was time for a change.

Turner said the county got three bids for the job, but Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams, and Co. is the only one that meets Local Government Commission standards.

Last year’s audit, a state requirement for local governments, cost the county about $39,000.

Turner said the contract with TPSA would cost about $43,000.

The board approved the new auditing firm, which has a great deal of experience with county governments.