The city of Southport is facing two battles involving millions of dollars; one with the state and the other with a private sanitation company. Both argue that the city of Southport broke its agreement.
State standards require the city of Southport to stop using their current water treatment systems by 2011. To help the city transition, $6.7 million in state money was awarded to help in upgrading the water treatment systems, and purchasing property. $1.6 million of that was supposed to be used to buy property next to the Sunny Point Military Base that would serve as a spray field, to treat the water, however that plan was changed.
“The city looked at an alternative allowing Brunswick County to treat our waste water and we have gone that route,” explained Southport City Manager Alan Thornton.
Now, the state wants the $1.6 million back.
The second battle is from the company originally chosen to treat their water. Town officials picked Southeast Brunswick Sanitary District. However, when it came down to costs, the city decided it would rather hook into the county’s sewer lines.
“The contract that we had with them was going to be quite expensive for us and i believe even with the repayment that is required and possibly even the sanitary district lawsuit we will still come out to the better,” said Southport Mayor Sandra Spencer.
Now, Southeast Sanitary District is suing the city for a breach in contract and losses of $2.5 million.
City leaders say they went with the county because it would keep rates significantly cheaper than if they used the sanitary district.
Attorney’s representing Southeast Sanitary District say there are some discrepancies in the amount the city believed it would cost to maintain their partnership.
The city of Southport plans to appeal Southeast’s lawsuit.
When it comes to the state grant money, the city has no choice but to pay back the $1.6 million the state gave it for the spray field.