DOBSON — Town officials here hope to see progress on a much-needed water plant upgrade by year’s end.
Thursday evening contracted engineer Kevin Heath provided the Dobson Board of Commissioners with an update on how the $3.7 million project is moving along.
“I hope at your next meeting we plan to advertise for bids,” Heath told the board.
Heath said the details on the project will soon go to regulatory agencies such as the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) for approval. He hopes there will be a quick turn-around in the approval phase.
Heath said the town is on track to get the necessary permits in a timely fashion.
“When will you actually start on the project?” asked Commissioner John Lawson.
“Hopefully we begin by the end of the year,” answered Heath. “That’s what we’re are shooting for.”
In answering another question, Heath indicated replacing water pumps at the water treatment plant is the priority, and work to begin the installation of the new pumps can start immediately after a bid is accepted.
The town has been renting a pump at the cost of about $4,000 per month since Dobson’s last remaining pump at the plant failed in December.
Town Manager Josh Smith told the board it’s imperative the project begin by February, a deadline set in grant agreements. If not, the town risks losing those grant monies.
Additionally, the town has received extensions from DENR, as it does not meet regulatory standards in its current form. The agency must see significant progress on the project to allow the town to continue to operate without a sludge-handling system.
In a subsequent interview Smith explained the town has been permitted to expedite the pump replacement, which is the part of the project Heath told commissioners he hopes to send to bid soon.
Donna McLamb said she was set to return home to the Raleigh area a couple decades ago after working for a veterinarian in Yadkin County. She and her husband had even placed their home on the market.
However, McLamb said God had other plans for her, and she ended up in Dobson instead.
Since opening the Dobson Veterinary Hospital, McLamb has deeply embedded herself in the community, said Commissioner Robin Testerman.
Testerman and the board recognized McLamb for her contributions Thursday evening, which include helping to raise $16,000 for a meals-on-wheels program and hosting dog washes to raise money to help a child with medical bills and to financially aid somebody who was in need of a service dog.
In other business, town Municipal Services Manager Misty Marion announced Dobson will hold a date night event at Dobson Square Park on the evening of Oct. 8. “The Intern” will be shown.
Additionally, the town’s second annual Spooktacular is set for Halloween evening.
Smith said a meeting of Dobson business leaders will take place at the Hampton Inn in Dobson on the evening of Oct. 11. The town has been working to assemble a group, which can work hand-in-hand with the town and both chambers of commerce in the county in addressing the needs of Dobson businesses.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.