More Funds Emerge for Sewer Line Project

WINNSBORO (Jan. 5, 2017) – Town Council Tuesday night took another step toward getting the long-awaited McCulley Creek sewer line project under way, giving the OK to apply for additional funding from the S.C. Department of Commerce (DOC).

Last September, Council authorized John Fantry, the Town’s utilities attorney, to begin the process of obtaining rights of way for the project, which will replace sewer lines near the water treatment plant. The old 8- to 10-inch lines have on several occasions in the past overflowed and spilled sewage, leading to at least two violations and a consent order from the Department of Health and Environmental Control. In October, only one right of way holdout remained: Virginia resident Donald Swygert, who was seeking reimbursement for the timber value of his forest land for the temporary easement. Council cleared that hurdle several weeks later.

The project is being funded in part through a $534,103 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the DOC and has been planned out in three phases.

Tuesday night, Cyndi Gawronski, CDBG Manager for the Central Midlands Council of Governments, told Council that recently opened bids produced a winning low bid of $1,092,902. With the grant and the Town’s portion, adequate funds only existed to cover two of the three phases of the project. But Gawronski told Council that the DOC had offered to up their contribution to the maximum $750,000 allowed for community infrastructure projects. They are willing to give the Town another $185,589, provided the Town comes up with a 10 percent match.

Also, Gawronski said, because the DOC money would now be at its maximum, any change orders that arose during the project would have to be covered by the Town.

“And that’s a complete unknown until we start,” she said. “Now generally it’s only a pretty straightforward replacement of the pipes. Nobody expects anything catastrophic or anything crazy to happen. But until you’re down in the ground, you don’t know. So if a change order should come up because they need more space or they find something underground that they weren’t aware of and it has to be addressed, there’s no more money from Commerce because we’re already at the max.”

Town Manager Don Wood said since the project is running new, larger lines parallel to existing lines, the chances for extreme change orders were minimized. Mayor Roger Gaddy asked Wood just how much cost the Town could absorb should any big change orders come up.

“I don’t have a dollar amount,” Wood answered. “I think we could go into our savings, as long as it wasn’t a catastrophic amount to cover.”

Gaddy said he felt the Council should commit itself to the additional funds.

“Let’s move on this thing,” Gaddy said. “I think we’ve gotten rid of all our Virginia obstacles that we’ve had.”

Council voted 3-0 to request the extra funding. Councilman Clyde Sanders was absent, and Councilman Stan Klaus was still hospitalized, where he is battling illness.

Mayoral Candidate

Gaddy’s decision to not seek another term as mayor in April’s municipal elections has opened the door for a new mayor in 2017. In attendance at Tuesday night’s meeting was Mid-County Water Director Herb Rentz. After the meeting, Rentz told The Voice that he plans to throw his hat into the ring for Gaddy’s seat. Rentz said he has not yet officially filed and is in the process of collecting signatures on his petition to run.