Fort Mill looks to pay for water improvements

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJanuary 18, 2013 

— Fort Mill set itself up to spend money on water projects, but found out it’s off the hook for a road improvement at a busy Town Council meeting this week.

The town council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to borrow money from itself. The measures allows the town to issue debt to repay money currently coming from the town’s fund for capital projects. Bonds will be issued to pay for several projects in the next four years, including the design and construction of the Southern Bypass waterline along Doby’s Bridge Road, another along White’s Road, a water storage tank, a wastewater system and lift stations.

“We anticipate a bond issue later in the year,” Town Manager David Hudspeth said. “We’re working on that now.”

Several projects that require payback are underway already. The estimated cost of improvements in the resolution is $24.8 million. The town will pay $13.8 million of that, with private developers footing $10.9 million. Within the next 12 months, the town should issue bonds for $4.5 million toward the total, Hudspeth said.

Elsewhere in town, a road project to relieve congestion at the juncture of Hwy. 21 and Hwy. 160 is in the pipeline, including adding a right turn lane on Hwy. 160 West across from The Peach Stand.

Most of the cost for that upgrade will be paid through a federal air quality improvement grant. There were concerns since the grant was approved that changes in the process on the federal level would require the town to kick in $190,000 in matching funds, but transportation officials confirmed otherwise.

“There will not be a local match for that requirement,” said Joe Cronin, assistant town manager and planning director.

Cronin said progress on the project should be noticeable “sometime in the next couple of months.”

Several other issues also saw first approval last week. The town passed ordinance readings on two major school properties and an update to building codes to match the latest International Energy Efficiency Code and International Property Maintenance Code. Council also appointed former York County Councilman David Bowman to the town Zoning Board of Appeals, a position he held prior to the county role.

The separate school decisions would remove and rezone a 39-acre tract of land from the Kanawha development at Sutton Road and I-77, currently under contract for sale to the Fort Mill School District, and annex more than 53 acres at Spratt Street and Fort Mill Parkway for use as a new Riverview Elementary School.

The town also went through second reading of an amendment to its 2008 comprehensive plan, which is required to have regular updates.

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