Sept. 03–GRAHAM — The Alamance County Board of Commissioners will again talk about its stand on a proposed natural-gas pipeline at 9 a.m. Tuesday Sept. 4, at W. Elm St., Graham.
County Attorney Clyde Albright is scheduled to present a resolution on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate for the board to vote on, though the text of that resolution was once again not included in the publicly available agenda.
The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate would be a 72-mile, 24-inch diameter line connecting to the existing MVP in Pittsylvania County, Va. to carry Marcellus Shale gas to the PSNC distribution system south of Graham near Cherry Lane, according to documents submitted to the county.
The commissioners heard presentations from the company aiming to build the pipeline and opponents as well as public comments — mostly in opposition — in August.
The company claims the pipeline will bring cheaper natural gas to the area, which has a growing population and growing demand for energy, 1,260 jobs, $106 million in local spending and $1.3 million per year in county taxes all with less pollution than coal.
Opponents, represented by the Haw River Assembly, say the company significantly exaggerates the tax revenue and the potential demand for natural gas; most of those jobs will be temporary and that many will be taken by out-of-state workers; says the company is unfair to the property owners when buying land; pipeline construction and maintenance could cause environmental damage; and that the pipeline deepens the dependence on polluting fossil fuels and fracking.
Other property owners making public comments at the commissioners’ Aug. 6 meeting said the pipeline companies were aggressive in trying to get access to their land, and objected to the threat of the private company exercising eminent domain if they refused to sell.
Cities and towns in Alamance County are waiting to see what the commissioners did before deciding whether or not to vote on the resolution opposing the pipeline, said Emily Sutton, the Haw River Keeper.
There seemed to be a strong consensus against eminent domain among the commissioners and several talked about the environmental impact of digging a pipeline.
The commissioners asked Albright in early August to change some parts of the resolution to correct some statements in it that he considered questionable, and to address specific issues like the impact on farmers in the pipeline’s path. Albright gave the board members a draft of the resolution Aug. 20, with which they seemed unsatisfied and asked him to change again.
The commissioners are also expected to vote on setting a public hearing Sept. 17 on a request for business incentives. According to a policy the commissioners voted on in February, details on the request, including the name of the company asking for county money, will be released 10 days before the hearing. The vote was originally set for early August, but postponed.
Allie Churches seeks county funds, assistance
Richard Gary, executive director of Allied Churches of Alamance County, the county’s primary homeless shelter and food pantry, will make a report on the services ACAC is providing, its finances and a statement that it could use another $50,000 in county funds, tax waivers and abandoned property.
ACAC has $773,274 total revenue, according to Gary’s report;
$358,473, or 46 percent, of which is from individual, congregational and business donations.
A decline from the $1.3 million in 2016 gross receipts, according to ACAC’s 2016 tax return.
Allied Churches requested $100,000 as an outside group in the county’s 2018-19 budget. It was the first year ACAC had requested county funds.
ACAC’s services include serving or housing 45 families since April, according to Gary’s report, getting 92 people into permanent housing, serving $43,815 meals and distributing 75,000 pounds of food since February.
In addition to a $20,000 Social Services allocation, the report says the county can help with $50,000 annual financial support, a waiver of utility costs, and donating abandoned homes the county owns to ACAC.
Capital spending reallocation
The Alamance County Detention Center needs three air handler units replaced, according to a county Finance Department request, taking priority over county office building elevator and roof for the CSI building projects in the $250,000 capital improvement program in the 2018-19 budget. There would be no additional spending, but a reallocation of funds.
Performance contract resolution
The Alamance-Burlington School System plans to buy $7.8 million in new lighting, chillers, low flow valves and aerators through performance contracting — a method of paying for updated school lighting, HVAC controls, etc., by installing energy-saving fixtures and using the money saved on the utility bill to pay for the installation over time.
Brady Trane, the energy services company ABSS is working with, calculates that ABSS can save $677,695 per year, which means the $7.8 million project should be paid off by 2031.
If, for some reason, the savings does not equal that estimate and ABSS ends up owing money, Brady Trane is contracted to pay the difference.
ABSS will need a resolution from the commissioners to keep funding for utilities costs at the current level so it can pay down those loans.
Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.
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