Bidding over Carteret County water system ends with final $9.5M offer from Carolina Water Systems

 A road sign placed by grassroots group Carteret County for Public Water sits in front of a Carteret County water tower off Mill Creek Road this spring. The Carteret County Board of Commissioners will consider whether to accept a bid for purchase of the water system from Carolina Water Systems during its meeting in June. (Elise Clouser photo)

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; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt. 

(7) comments


Good, I hope they raise prices and fees for the subscribers. You elected your representatives that did this. You love free enterprise.... Enjoy the free market lol!

(Edited by staff.)


Um, free enterprise is WHEN THE GOVERNMENT never gets in your business 'AT ALL'. This is not free enterprise above. As for the 'elected servants', well, noone knew a thing about this because it was never mentioned until a leak, or comment off hand about the subject, so it was essentially a secret the whole time, and noone has a crystal ball to read all these invisible thoughts and actions going down day after next.

David Collins

You know they will do just that right from the git go . They are $9 .5 million in the hole on day one and have debt service to pay off and profits to make . Might be a good time to be a well driller .


Not everybody voted for some of the members of this board of commissioners, especially ones who make a mockery of the taxpayers opinions against topics like this. But just like all political positions, there are those corrupt ones who has no concerns of the taxpayers right to logical explanations but instead cut them off when they are speaking or laughing in the faces of those who are concerned. So-called representatives who commit these unprofessional acts should have their position terminated and never be allowed to hold any other office to serve the people. The commissioners need to listen more to the people and apply those opinions when it comes to selling services like this, that is unless the county would like to cover the countywide water bills.


I bet supper at the outback with drinks and appetizers, that the same 5 families who have run this county for decades, via the county commission, school board and nominating themselves and their cronies to the various boards will continue to be reelected.

Any takers?


Ski... I wouldn’t touch that bet with a 10’ pole


I'd bet a dime to a dollar that no matter the party affiliation , and even when these servants are replaced, the next lot have their own nefarious acts of dismissal to you the public , and there you'll be. This county can be run with a manager, and some assistants in a position the accounts yearly, and if needs be, this manager will be removed by vote every year . (keep flipping the pancake , but, it only has 2 sides people)

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