St. Pauls gives auto shop needed permit

By: By Brandon Tester - Staff writer
J.R. Steigerwald

ST PAULS — The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a conditional-use permit for an auto service station at 129 E. Broad St.

The station’s owner, whose name was not readily available, applied for the permit after buying the property in August.

Board members had cited a number of concerns with the station’s operations, notably the presence of vehicles without tags on the sidewalk and street near the property. Vehicles without tags are considered junk vehicles, and parking them on the street is prohibited by law.

The owner has been addressing those issues, said J.R. Steigerwald, town administrator.

“As far as I know, he’s not operating outside of his garage right now,” Steigerwald said. “He’s been told he has to comply with state code.”

The board also discussed negotiations for the installation of a sludge dewatering press for the wastewater system. The city has a contract valued at about $150,000 for the installation of the press and construction of the building in which the press will be housed, Steigerwald said.

The project has been stalled because of discrepancies between the original proposal for the venture and stipulations added by the engineer throughout the project’s planning stages.

Steigerwald said he will meet today with Charles Underwood, of Charles Underwood Inc., the company manufacturing the press. Steigerwald’s goal is to work toward getting final quotes for the project and bringing those back to the commissioners.

Commissioner Evans Jackson expressed frustrations with the negotiations. He said the talks have been going on throughout his two years on the board, and he is disappointed that the project’s logistics have not been finalized.

“There should be no excuse,” Jackson said.

The press would isolate and remove sludge from the city’s wastewater before sending the clean water into the sewage system. The sludge would then be taken to a landfill.

In other business, the board:

— Approved allowing Southeastern Community and Family Services to use the R.E. Hooks Community Building for free.

— Tabled the nomination of an extra-territorial member of the St. Pauls Planning Commission.

— Approved allowing on-call Public Works staff members to take town vehicles home. Use of the vehicles for personal matters is not allowed.

— Approved changing the town’s primary checking account to First Bank. The commissioners were told the bank will waive all service fees associated with the account.

— Discussed the upcoming budget workshop on March 10. Steigerwald told the commissioners to list what they saw accomplished in the past year and what they’d like to see accomplished, and present those ideas to him before the workshop.

— Heard updates from the St. Pauls Police Department and Emergency Medical Services. The commissioners learned of the purchase of a new mini-split air conditioning unit, valued at $2,560, for the EMS building.

— Learned that a request for a four-way stop at Martin Luther King and Chapel streets had been denied by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

— Received an update on flow rates at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. Steigerwald said the rates are stable enough for the town to consider growth in the future.

— Discussed the Rural ReadySites Development Program introduced by Gov. Roy Cooper. The program allows rural areas to apply for funding to “build or improve public infrastructure for sites that have a strong potential to attract employers, create jobs, and support the local, regional and state economy,” according to a press release given to the board members.

J.R. Steigerwald Steigerwald

By Brandon Tester

Staff writer

Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected]

Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected]