Commissioners Borrow $52.5 Million For New Water And Sewer Projects

SMITHFIELD – Johnston County Commissioners voted Monday to authorize a $52.5 million water and sewer bond to pay for needed infrastructure brought on by growth and development.   County Manager Rick Hester said the debt will be repaid through revenue generated by water and sewer customers, through monthly billing, and not by property taxes.

Minutes after approving the major bond package, commissioners voted to spend the majority of the money by awarding several pending bids.

$17.2 million will be used for a new 4 million gallon per day (MGD) wastewater pump station on Swift Creek Road, expandable to 8.8 million MGD, plus 27,000 linear feet of a 24 inch sewer line to transfer wastewater to the new 210 Wastewater Treatment Facility being constructed on Highway 210 at County Home Road.

$12.3 million was approved to upgrade the County’s exiting Landfill Wastewater Pump Station and Equalization Facility including construction of 7,800 linear feet of a 24 inch sewer force main to allow wastewater to be pumped to the existing treatment plant near Wilson’s Mills or the new plant off Highway 210.

$2.5 million was earmarked for improvements in the Pine Level area including upsizing a wastewater pump station and construction of about 20,000 linear feet of 12 and 16 inch sewer lines to the Pine Level Wastewater Pump Station.

$3 million was approved to add wastewater capacity in the Towns of Smithfield, Selma and Pine Level and make improvements to an existing 16 inch sewer line on Buffalo Road.  The project will also allow the County the ability to divert wastewater from the Towns of Selma and Pine Level to the Town of Smithfield and also flow to the new treatment plant on Highway 210 at County Home Road.  

$5.47 million will be used to purchase Nitrogen Nutrient Offset Credits from a private mitigation bank.  The cost is based on the required nitrogen credits for the 2 MGD wastewater treatment capacity plant on Highway 210.  The credits are released incrementally.  About $3.24 million will be due between 2022 and 2024. The remainder will be due at a later date.         

$9.36 million was approved for the Buffalo Road Booster Pump Station Upgrade project to better serve commercial retail and bulk waster customers.   

The County will sell the $52.5 million bond, similar to the way school bonds are sold.  The biggest difference is that the measure will not go before county residents for a referendum vote. Commissioners approved the bond July 19th in a 7-to-0 vote.      

4 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like the only people that get waste treatment are the ones in the cities. Would be nice if the rest of the people in the county were worth considering.

  2. “County Manager Rick Hester said the debt will be repaid through revenue generated by water and sewer customers, through monthly billing, and not by property taxes.”

    Yeah…. I’ll remember that when the JoCo Commissioners vote to raise property taxes next year…

    • I call it as I see it. In the past 3 years, the county budget shows that sewer and water revenues run slightly *behind* expenses. For Hester to say that the debt will be repaid by some future revenue is pure fiction.

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