China Grove seeks short-term loan
By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — The City Council approved to seek an interim construction loan so the town can move forward with plans to renovate town hall, as well as the police and fire departments.
The town must obtain this interim financing before the project can begin. The USDA loan approved in March 2010 takes effect only after construction. The interim financing is essentially a short-term loan.
“Interim financing is better than a bond for the taxpayers to vote on,” said Town Finance Director Mary Jo Bopp.
The board approved the plan at its meeting Tuesday to file an application with the North Carolina Government Commission for approval of the project and the proposed financing contract.
The town’s intent is to reconstruct the current North Main Street building so that it could be used for town hall and a fire station. The police department would move into town hall on Swink Street.
The board discussed at its September meeting that bid submissions need to be done quickly to meet the March deadline. Once the bids process is complete, the town has five years from that date to finish construction.
The project will be done in two phases.
In the first phase, police will move into the town hall building, with renovations beginning in the current fire department. The first phase is expected to take about nine months to complete.
The fire station will move into the new station once renovations are complete.
In phase two, the current fire station will also house town hall, and should take six months to complete.
The process has taken more than a year and a half so far.
The town will pay interest only on the loan. This helps keep the costs down for the town as it waits for the construction project to be completed.
According to the resolution, the town doesn’t feel they have the revenue stream to support a bond issue.
Interim Town Manager Ken Deal said he met with several companies during a pre-bid conference about the construction project.
He said there were a lot of interested bidders, some from Salisbury, Landis and Kannapolis.
They hope to have bids submitted by Jan. 18.
The board also approved a conditional use permit to L&M Motors to change the property to an automobile sale lot. The property is located at 1120 U.S. 29 South, is zoned highway business and is 1.33 acres.
Community planner Emily Jackson said the property was a car dealership in 2006, but there have been other businesses since that time so the business owner, Lawrence Harkey, has certain requirements before moving forward.
Three items Harkey must attend to first are: to provide landscaping in the front of the business; paint and pave the handicapped parking space; and attach shields to direct outdoor lighting.
None of the adjoining property owners attended a planning board meeting on Thursday or Tuesday’s town board meeting.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
In other business
The China Grove board also:
• Approved a security guarantee for the Hillary Heights subdivision. Prior to approval of a final plat for the subdivision, the developer, Walnut Grove Partners, must install all improvements as specified in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) or guarantee the installation.
Basically, the developers must guarantee they do the work, community planner Emily Jackson said later.
The area, which is bordered by First, Walnut and Second streets, covers 6.78 acres and will be subdivided into 23 single-family lots and one area of common open space.
The improvements include sidewalks, landscaping, traffic control and relocating power poles if needed.
• Approved a water shortage response plan, which is required of every local municipality that provides public water services or plans to provide such services.
Since China Grove gets some of its water from Salisbury, when Sallisbury adopted such a plan, China Grove had to follow suit.
If there is a water shortage, employees and customers will be notified via email, notices posted at town buildings, notices in the water bills, through local media outlets and the town’s web ite.
• Approved the North Carolina Railroad License Agreement. The agreement says that the town can use and occupy the tracks that run parallel to Main and Harris streets only to mow the grass, trim and maintain the shrubs.
The town already maintains the landscaping, but the agreement needed to be in writing.
• Set the town’s budget retreat beginning at 8:30 a.m., Feb. 26 at the China Grove Roller Mill.