budget

Legislators question $1.65 million Jordan Lake spending item

By Andrew Kenney — akenney@newsobserver.com RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory signed a controversial delay of the Jordan Lake clean-up effort last month, but the legislative debate’s not over yet. Two members of the N.C. House of Representatives say a $1.65 million plan to buy anti-algae technology may be designed to benefit a single company, circumventing the public bidding process. The budget provision lays out planned spending for the water-circulating devices that some lawmakers claim will curb algae pollution in the lake. It calls for specifics -- such as “adjustable float arms with a one-inch diameter shaft and turnbuckle,” “Type 316” stainless steel, and polystyrene foam beads to absorb water – that line up in many respects with the features of the SolarBee, a water circulator made by Medora Co., headquartered in North Dakota. In a letter written last week, which was made public Friday, Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Hendersonville, and Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Fayetteville, ask state Auditor Beth Wood to review the budget item, which could put dozens of 16-foot-wide circulators in the lake for two years. The representatives question whether the budget item is so specific that it would eliminate some companies whose products don’t, for example, “weigh approximately 850 pounds.” That is the exact weight of Medora’s SB10000HW v18 High Wave mixer – and such detail is a warning sign that the legislation could improperly favor Medora, according to McGrady and Glazier. “The provision reads very much like the terms of a purchase and sale contract,” the letter states. “Further, there is only one company of which we are aware that makes a technology that meets the specifications.”
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