CORRECTION: This article was updated at 10:36 a.m. Jan. 22, 2020, to update the price of the generator and add information provided by the town about cost savings. 

EMERALD ISLE — Lowe’s Home Improvement in Cape Carteret has donated a $16,000 generator to the town to replace one that failed during Hurricane Dorian.

Town Manager Matt Zapp made the announcement Tuesday night during the board of commissioners’ monthly session in its meeting room beside the police department on the north side of Highway 58.

Mr. Zapp said Mayor Eddie Barber was “instrumental” in obtaining the donation of the 60,000-watt generator. The mayor began talking to officials at the store shortly after Hurricane Dorian moved along the state’s coast in September.

“It was a pleasure to work with Lowe’s on this,” Mayor Barber said. “We’re very grateful, and I want to give them a big thank you.”

The company will install the stand-by generator to run the police department and old town hall in the event power fails. Mr. Zapp said it will be ready to kick in before the beginning of the 2020 hurricane season.

Mr. Zapp later said the town will spend $10,000 to install the generator but will save $45,000 on a private contractor’s estimate of the $55,000 cost of to buy a new generator, install it, remove the old one and complete the rewiring.

Also during the meeting, the board adopted a resolution that will save the town money by refinancing a borrowing agreement with a financial institution to help pay for the previous acquisition of 30 acres of property along Archers Creek for McLean-Spell Park behind the old town hall and the recreation center. Most of the money for the $3 million purchase came from grants, but the town still had to borrow money.

Half of the purchase cost, $1.5 million, came from the U.S. military, because the land is in the flight path of jets that use Bogue Field, an auxiliary landing strip for the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

The military was interested in protecting the land from development because of the potential for a disaster should one of its aircraft crash in a high-density, residential development. Before the purchase, the land had been zoned for condominium development.

Another $500,000 came from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and $545,000 from the state Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

According to Finance Officer Laura Rotchford, in May 2018, the town approved a 10-year installment purchase for $600,000 with Branch Banking & Trust at an interest rate of 3.57%, for the rest of the money. As of the end of fiscal year 2018-19 in July, the town’s principal balance on the loan was $540,000.

At Ms. Rotchford’s request, Truist Bank, (formerly BB&T) recently offered a new rate, 2.59%, keeping the length of the existing term the same, ending in May 2028. Total interest savings are calculated at approximately $24,000 over the remaining life of the loan.

Also, Tuesday night, the board approved financing agreements to purchase a new aerial fire truck and a new ambulance, both of which the board agreed to buy in July.

 Ms. Rotchford said that in December the town solicited proposals from several area banks for a five-year installment purchase agreement in the amount of $246,000 for the purchase of the 2020 Braun ambulance and a 15-year installment purchase agreement in the amount of $1,255,000 for the purchase of the 2020 Smeal aerial fire truck.

Two proposals were received, and the board, at Ms. Rotchford’s recommendation, went with Truist Bank, the low bidder.

The loan for the ambulance was at 2.9%. Total interest expense for the term of the loan will be $16,162, with an average annual debt service amount of $52,432.

The loan for the fire truck is at 2.52%. Total interest expense for the term of the loan will be $253,008, with an average annual debt service amount of $100,534.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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