Gibson to apply for water system grant

By Mary Katherine Murphy

April 11, 2014

GIBSON — The Gibson town commission held the first of two public hearings on Thursday concerning an application for a grant to improve the town’s water system.

Randy Freeman, an engineer with The Wooten Company, detailed the project and grant to the commissioners during the board’s regular monthly meeting.

“It’s just going to be a small project rehabbing the Church Street pump station and updating the equipment in it,” Freeman said.

The project also proposes removal of stormwater from the sewers at the intersection of Main Street and Oil Mill Road, as the Rural Water Association noted cross-connections of sewer and storm water.

The town could receive $344,000 for the project through a Community Development Block Grant, with no additional funds from the town required. Should Gibson receive the grant, construction will be performed next year.

“It’s a pot of money, there’s a lot of folks going after the money, so it’s not a guarantee,” Freeman said.

Mayor Ronnie Hudson said that the improvements to the pump station have been sorely needed for years.

“Everything down there is worn slap out, we’ve got hay bale wire on it, and its a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

There was no public comment during the hearing. The second hearing, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers block grants, will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the town depot.

In other discussion on Thursday, Commissioner Ken Haney raised a concern about Gibson’s arrangement with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement within the town limits, specifically whether or not deputies were forwarding a portion of their earnings to the sheriff as they did with earnings from off-duty work at Gryphon Group.

“If he’s taking part of their money, and we’re giving them a 1099, we’re giving them a false 1099 and the Internal Revenue Service should be aware of that,” said Haney. “If he is taking any of this money, then he should be turning it in like he’s supposed to to the county, but he still should be notifying the town of Gibson that he’s doing that.”

According to Town Clerk Angie Hunsucker, in her conversations with deputies serving Gibson, none of the $20 per hour paid to them by Gibson is relinquished to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff’s deputies provide about 18 hours per week of protection to the town.

In other business, the town awarded a contract for $2,800 to Jimmy Gibson to patch the road leading from N.C. 381 to the water treatment plant.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.