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Commissioners schedule special-called meeting for roadwork contract

Rowan County commissioners on Monday will have a special called meeting at noon to consider an engineering contract for roadwork near Gildan’s plant on Heilig Road.

The only item scheduled to be considered during open session is a contract with Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants to conduct roadway and waterline engineering for $168,000. A closed session for an undisclosed economic development matter is also listed on the agenda.

The county initially solicited qualifications from engineering firms in April 2014 and subsequently voted to negotiate a contract with Blue Ridge. In agenda attachments, however, County Manager Aaron Church says the county never officially approved a contract. Church states in a letter to commissioners Blue Ridge has performed a majority of the engineering work for the project, despite a contract not being formally approved. When Gildan began construction in early 2014 on its second facility in Rowan County, the company’s expansion required a 2,900-foot road and 4,500-foot waterline, according to agenda attachments.

Blue Ridge has locations in Wilkesboro and West Jefferson, according to its website. The list of clients on Blue Ridge’s website include: Duke Energy, the Town of Wilkesboro, Wal-Mart and Community One Bank.

The total estimated cost of the road and waterline is $2.13 million, paid for through grants, according to agenda attachments. The engineering contract would also be paid through grant funding.

A recommendation from Finance Director Leslie Heidrick to negotiate a contract with Blue Ridge is dated April 25, 2014. A separate letter from Robert Van Geons, Rowan County economic development director, recommends commissioners approve a contract with Blue Ridge during its May 5 meeting. According to Church, that contract was never approved.

Among the items listed on the contract are:

· Engineering of water distribution systems in accordance with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ standards

· Identify areas where right-of-way or easement acquisition may be needed for the roadway and waterline projects

· Preparation of cost estimates for the roadway and waterline extension

·  Providing all services for administering the project during construction

Gildan first announced it would build a facility in Rowan County in Dec. 2012 with a projection of creating 170 jobs in two years.

The company makes T-shirts, fleece, sport shirts, socks and underwear.

Shortly after the initial announcement, Gildan in late 2013 announced it would expand, building a second production facility.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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