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Only one company interested in overseeing county’s water, sewer work

Only one company appears to be interested in supervising engineering work for a county-owned water and sewer system.

McGill Associates, which has offices in Hickory and a number of other locations in the state, was the only company to submit qualifications by this week’s deadline. The company also conducted a water and sewer feasibility study for Rowan County. A name on McGill’s staff list — Financial Services Director Bill Cowan — is also familiar to Rowan County. Cowan served as Rowan County manager before commissioners hired Gary Page or Aaron Church.

County officials could ask for qualifications a second time if they wanted to consider more than just McGill as the engineering firm. However, Church said he plans to submit McGill Associates to commissioners as the lone interested company. Church said he would likely initially submit McGill to commissioners for a single portion of the water and sewer system. As commissioners decide to proceed with additional parts of a county-owned water system, Church said commissioners would have to consider a new contract.

An exact contract for McGill will be decided after commissioners officially pick the firm.

McGill’s feasibility study estimated a cost of $60 million to build all desired water and sewer lines in the Bostian Heights and Dukeville communities. County commissioners, instead, have identified about $3 million in initial work in the Dukeville area. The lines would primarily be for economic development instead of residential uses.

With its water and sewer system, Rowan would own the water lines, pay Salisbury-Rowan Utilities for certain services, charge customers a pre-determined rate and keep any money generated within Rowan County government. The county doesn’t plan to build its own intake. Instead, it would purchase water from SRU.

In it’s submission, McGill Associates said construction could begin within 17 months of commissioners’ approval. Design-related work is a large part of a proposed timeline included in McGill’s submission.

So far, the only concrete action taken by commissioners occurred in September, when they approved continuing discussions with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities about extending water lines; coordinating with the Department of Transportation to ensure water lines are able to cross Interstate 85 after widening work is complete; investigating funding methods; developing a financial model for operations and soliciting qualifications from engineering firms.

McGill Associates in its submission said it has supervised more than $443 million in projects. A large number of the projects cited as examples in McGill’s submission are located in Catawba County. The company previously worked with the city of Statesville and Salisbury-Rowan Utilities to build a connection between the two municipal systems.

The company says it has a total of 29 registered engineers and 100 professional and support personnel.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

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