BEAUFORT — The bidding period for purchase of Carteret County’s publically owned and maintained water system has ended, with a final offer of $9.5 million submitted by Carolina Water Systems earlier this month.
Bidding ended May 12 when the 10-day upset bid window closed with no further offers from competing company Aqua North Carolina. Aqua and Carolina Water Systems have been engaged in a bidding war since Aqua submitted an initial bid of $7 million in mid-February for purchase of the system, which serves around 1,200 customers.
Carteret County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Ed Wheatly announced the bidding period was over during the board’s regular meeting May 17. He said commissioners will decide whether to approve the high bid, thus selling the water system, or to turn down all offers and keep control of the system during the June meeting.
“It was not on the agenda tonight, we had already set the agenda before the bid process had ended,” Mr. Wheatly said. “It will be on the next month’s regular meeting agenda, at that time we’ll have an agenda item and a full discussion and possibly a vote.”
That meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, June 21 in the commissioners’ boardroom of the administration complex in Beaufort.
Organizers of the group Carteret County for Public Water, which opposes any sale of the water system, spoke briefly during the public comment period of the May 17 meeting to share they have been meeting with individual commissioners to discuss the system and a possible way forward that doesn’t involve selling. The group presented at the April board of commissioners meeting to lay out its concerns about the potential sale, and County Manager Tommy Burns shared information on financing and operating the system from the county’s perspective.
In other business at the commissioners’ May meeting, the board adopted the consent agenda, which included the following items:
- Minutes of the April 19 regular meeting.
- Tax releases, refunds and the tax collector’s monthly report.
- A Microsoft enterprise licensing agreement renewal.
- An Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. GIS enterprise licensing agreement renewal.
- Purchase of equipment in support of Spectrum’s previous local Public, Educational and Governmental channel.
- A contract for the remaining window replacement at the County Department of Social Services.
- An employee medical insurance benefit plan renewal for fiscal 2021-22.
- A budget amendment for a South River EMS fund loan totaling $32,000.
- A budget amendment for the County Register of Deeds special revenue fund totaling $20,000.
- A budget amendment for appropriation of reserve funds for Beaufort EMS totaling $79,982.
- A budget amendment for appropriation of revenues for the County Sheriff’s Office from concealed weapons permits totaling $14,000.
- Workers’ compensation, property and liability insurance renewals.
- A contract for large sediment sampling totaling $28,902.50.
- Juvenile Crime Prevention Council grant fund distributions for fiscal year 2021-22.
- A proclamation in support of Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month.
- A contract for paving driveways at Otway and Highway 101 convenience sites totaling $74,000.
The board also approved appointments to various boards and commissions and heard an update on results of the Carteret County Trash Trawl, held April 24 at the Gallants Channel annex in Beaufort, from organizer Ryan Mroch.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.