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    Commissioners set public hearing on rec bond for July 15

    By Vernon Fueston Staff Writer,

    23 days ago

    Chowan County commissioners have taken another step toward placing a recreation bond on the November ballot, agreeing this week to submit an application to the state Local Government Commission for a $15 million bond to upgrade the county’s recreation facilities.

    The LGC will not act on the application until after Chowan voters go to polls on the referendum on Nov. 5.

    Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed bond referendum July 15. After the hearing, commissioners will decide on the language of the bond referendum, which will include an expected tax increase that would take effect if the referendum is approved.

    In recent budget meetings, commissioners decided to adopt a lower figure for the bond referendum than what was initially proposed in a 10-year master plan for the county’s recreation department. That earlier plan proposed a bond of $20 million with provisions for future or additional spending of as much as $15 million.

    The resulting plan is scaled down from that initial proposal, but Chowan County Manager Kevin Howard said in an interview that the actual projects and amounts that will be spent on them are still up for discussion.

    Howard said commissioners’ current thinking includes upgrading the county’s soccer and baseball fields, creating walking trails, and going back to recreation plans he said commissioners made 10-15 years ago. Those plans include improvements to the Red Banks Farm property to create a recreation complex. Any leftover funds could be used to construct a senior center and possibly a new gymnasium complex. He said such plans are still being hammered out, adding that more hearings to gather public input are needed in the coming months.

    He characterized commissioners as “backing up a little bit” on the idea of an indoor public swimming pool, deciding to move forward with the lower $15 million bond figure.

    The next step in the process will be the July 15th public hearing on the bond referendum. Howard said specific decisions on projects will not be made until after other public hearings, giving the public a chance to participate in the debate.

    In other business, commissioners approved the removal and replacement of a sewer pump station located near the Edenton-Chowan College of The Albemarle Culinary Arts Building. The project will be performed by McPherson Enterprises Plumbing and Trenching at a cost of $42,977.

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