Asheboro sees uptick in chemical prices for Water Services Department

ASHEBORO — The City of Asheboro Council met Thursday, April 6, with multiple budgetary matters on the agenda.

The first action the council took was the approval of a contract not to exceed $41,500 for auditing services for the 2023 fiscal year.

“The Finance Department recommends the firm of Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Co. as the most responsive bidder for the City of Asheboro audit,” said Assistant Finance Director Steve Hackett. “The firm has six offices, and the audit will be staffed out of the Whiteville office with assistance from the Cary office if needed. Alan Thompson, a partner with the firm with over 25 years of experience, will be the partner in charge of the audit, and it will be staffed by an audit manager with three senior staff.”

The council was then given a preliminary presentation for a request from Downtown Asheboro Inc. for a $550,000 budget request in order to purchase property at 105 North Fayetteville Street.

“After doing some surveying on the property and assessing what available space we had with Trade Street and this project, it was found that this acquisition was needed to make sure we properly fit the required trash and power, and it will also provide additional parking,” said DAI Executive Director Addie Corder.

According to Corder, the $550,000 would be used to support the city’s Trade Street Project by purchasing property for the parking as well as to have a place for businesses to place trash receptors and power transforming units.

“By providing space for the transformer bank in that location, it frees up access on Trade Street, as well as saves some money in the distribution of electricity,” said Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt. “There would have been a tremendous cost had we not had an alternate location, not to mention ongoing maintenance costs. So, it’s a partial reallocation as opposed to a straight expense.”

No vote was taken on the request, but one will be presented before the council at a later date.

The council then approved two change orders, one for $74,000 in order to add North Street to the Wooten Company’s engineering services contract related to the proposed Trade Street renovations and the other for $3,436 for additional design services by Prospect Landscape Architecture, PLLC related to the development of the David and Pauline Jarell Center City Garden Project.

“The City received a state grant for the purpose of improving the look and value of Trade Street while also maintaining that particular access,” said Community Development Director Trevor Nuttall on the first change order. “In the course of the staff team’s work on this project and after review of information that was starting to be compiled by Wooten, it became apparent to us that addressing the issues on trade street without having a plan for doing the same on the short segment of North Street between Trade and Sunset would be ill-advised. While we have the design team out there, now is the time to capitalize on that.”

The cost to add North Street was approximately 1/3 of the total design cost, according to Nuttall.

The council approved a resolution authorizing an application for a state loan for the Lake Lucas Dam Intake Improvements Project.

“The project did not score very well last year, and we’re trying to find any low-hanging fruit that we can to improve it,” said Water Resources Director Michael Rhoney. “It’s not looking great, but they’re expecting that there are no principal forgiveness loans this year. All loans, no grants, so I don’t think the competition is going to be as big.

“The criteria that they have, we just don’t meet a lot of the things. We don’t have the need that other people have, but we continue to try.”

The council then also approved contracts with five different companies for the purchase of seven different chemicals needed by the water resources department for the next year.

The chemicals include Liquid Alum at $399 a ton provided by C & S Chemicals, Liquid Caustic at $938 a ton, Fluosilicic Acid at $498 a ton, and Sodium Hypochlorite at $1.71 a gallon provided by Univar, USA, Inc., Calcium Nitrate at $2.71 a gallon provided by Aulick Chemical Solutions, Sodium Permanganate at $19.87 a gallon provided by Amerochem Corporation, and Calcium Hydroxide/Magnesium Hydroxide Slurry Blend at $1.70 a gallon provided by Polytec, Inc.

In terms of cost, according to Rhoney, it’s an overall increase of around 28% this fiscal year to purchase all of the same chemicals the department needs.

The City of Asheboro Council will next meet May 4.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal