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White Lake Approves Project to Analyze Lake Water

By Joy Warren

During the February White Lake Town Board of Commissioners regular meeting, the Board gave approval to an investigative project of Hydrologic Flows and Nutrient Inputs to White Lake.

Dr. Chris Shanks, Bald Head Island Conservancy Executive Director, (Lake Water Project Manager) and Dr. Peter Zamora, Assistant Professor with the University of NC Wilmington submitted their proposal to the Commissioners. The proposal is to complete the investigation of Hydrologic Flows and Nutrient Inputs to White Lake, totaling a maximum of $78,135.82.

According to Dr. Shanks, the analytical procedures used to analyze nutrient samples by NCSU are the same as the state certified commercial labs, just at a lower cost without all the overhead and administrative fees. The funding will be appropriated from Capital Reserve: Aquatic Control ($14,000), Contract Services: Other ($17,925) and from the General Fund Balance Appropriation ($46,211).

According to the proposal, project reports will be generated every two months for the duration of the project and will include details of tasks accomplished; ongoing activities, and highlights of key analyses. Incurred costs for the project will be billed monthly through the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

After completion of the project, a full report with a comprehensive analysis of White Lake hydrology, groundwater nutrient flows and water quality and phytoplankton community dynamics will be provided by the end of March.

The Board approved the project as presented.

The project is part of the ongoing process by the Town to find short-term and long-term solutions to the changes in clarity and PH levels of the lake water. As stated in earlier data and reports, the water quality has no safety issues.

Mayor Goldston Womble indicated that the Town has received three proposals for a short-term solution to water clarity issues. He will forward to the Board copies of the proposals and will discuss them at the next meeting. He stated that the Town will pursue funding help from the State for the short term project as it would include treatment not only for clarity issues but also for Hydrilla. As for the long term solutions to the water clarity issues, the State has indicated that they do not have the resources or expertise available to help with funding, but they are willing to work with the Bald Head Conservancy and their findings.

In administrative matters, the Board approved Tax Releases ($172.30), Utility Releases ($3,413.28); declared property items from Police Department as surplus and donated the equipment to Garland Police Department; approved advertisement for 2017 tax liens; approved Automatic Aid Assistance with Elizabethtown Fire Department; and approved budget ordinance amendments as presented.

Fire Chief Dale Brennan asked the Board to authorize participation in the 2018 Volunteer Fire Department Fund grant cycle. The grant is a 50-50 matching grant. Highest priority is given to firefighter safety equipment. He plans to apply for personal protective equipment and safety equipment in the amount of $27,762 ($13,881 from grant and $13,881 from local funds). The Board approved the application submission and, if received, the grant will be budgeted in the 2018/19 FY budget.

The Finance Office presented the Capital Project Ordinance Amendment to budget revenues and expenditures for topographic survey services for the multi-use trail project corridor, which is approximately 10,000 feet in length. The amendment increases the total expenditures and revenues for the project to $637,271. The total local match for the project is $81,966. Based on a report from Lester Lowe, P.E., with the Wooten Company, the project is running approximately 60 days behind the original schedules because of the survey delay. The Wooten Company anticipates having the final plans ready to submit in April, receiving permits/bids in June and awarding the project in July.

The Town’s web page has been updated with an innovative design and is now live. Access the site at www.whitelakenc.org.

The meeting adjourned to Tuesday, March 6 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss FY 2018/19 Budget Retreat Items and water clarity issues.

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