Boone plans next steps on water intake
by Anna Oakes
Earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency terminated an application from Boone seeking a Letter of Map Revision because the town had not provided information that Ashe County officials said they needed to sign off on an application form for impacted communities
In particular, county officials wanted to know if any part of the project, including an access road or transmission line, would cross over into Ashe County.
Randy Mundt, community development planner for the N.C. Floodplain Mapping Program, said nothing had changed since FEMA's termination of the application and that Boone had not resubmitted an application.
When asked in May if the town planned to reapply, Town Manager Greg Young said that "town staff continues to work on the water project as instructed."
Boone Town Councilman Andy Ball said Friday that the town has been discussing its next steps with engineers since FEMA's termination of flood map application earlier this year.
"There are a couple of other options available to us," Ball said. He said the council has not yet made a decision in part because of the Water Use Committee's discussions about whether to move forward with the project.
Some committee members have expressed concerns that the town could build a $25 million water intake facility, only to have it seized by the state. The legislature this year passed a law transferring the city of Asheville's water system to a regional authority, and the city sued over the action.
But Ball said that even though regionalization is a future possibility, "ultimate, I think we're going to need more water than our current capacity. If not in five years, we'll need it in 20 years.
"It's a long-term thing for me," he said. "I'm not ready yet to fold up (on the water intake project)."
Ball said he believed that right-of-way negotiations for the project's transmission line route are still ongoing.
The council discussed real estate easements and the terms of an employment contract related to the intake project in closed session Thursday.
The Water Use Committee's next meeting is scheduled for at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Council Chambers, located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road.
The committee is scheduled to discuss the water ordinance, the county's request for a water allocation reserve for the old high school property and the use of storage tanks for water needs.