In the tank: Village is essentially being strong armed to put town logo on water tower

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2018

As it has ultimately turned out, the Village of Clemmons would have been better off just going ahead and writing the check to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission.

Now that’s for the logo on the water tank, not for Tanglewood Business Park.


Well, this is the latest development involving Clemmons and Forsyth County — more specifically, the city-county utility commission — after a representative of that department came by Village Hall unannounced a couple of weeks ago to drop off a couple of renderings showing the intent of adding its logo to the water tank.

To provide some background, earlier this year Clemmons voted not to spend $6,600 or more to place its logo on the water tank following a comment by councilman Mike Combest, who said that kind of money could be better spent on more worthwhile projects.

Of course, Village Manager Scott Buffkin, who briefed the Village Council in its June 23 meeting upon receiving this new information, asked if the Village might be able to revisit and explore or discuss options for using a Clemmons logo on the tank in that place.

When Clemmons decided not to spend funds on a logo earlier in the year, Buffkin was under the impression that the tank would just remain blank.

“We were completely caught off guard last week when the gentleman came into the office with this,” Buffkin said.
He was identified by Village staff as Marcus Felton, who works for the city-county utility commission, and had apparently stopped by at the request of Courtney Driver, director of the department, who wanted to investigate painting their logo on the water tank.

Driver had appeared before the council a while back when Forsyth County was requesting $1.2 million from Clemmons to help with sewer and water improvements as part of a partnership in the former Idols Road Industrial Park — now called Tanglewood Business Park — project.

The city-county utility commission is in a partnership with Davie County to bring a pipe across the Yadkin River to pump sewage from Davie County to the city-county utility commission’s Muddy Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant for a regional pump station.

The new pump station in Forsyth is being designed to serve the business park and future expansion and is being developed in a partnership between the city-county utility commission and the county.

Clemmons isn’t part of Tanglewood Business Park project after not being able to reach an agreement on being partners after the two parties went back and forth for some time. Over the last couple of months, the Village has done in-depth analysis and pulled any support for the project — stating that, as currently planned, it is a losing proposition for the county that will also have an adverse impact on Clemmons.

Now back to the water tank…

Did Clemmons really have any choice, based on this latest request?

Mayor John Wait asked: “Unless we take the space, they’re going to put the city-county utility logo up there? Isn’t it their tower?”

Buffkin: “Yes, it is.”

To which Combest said, “I think this is unconscionable. It almost sounds like strong arming and extortion. I’m at a loss to understand. They have the money. They’re going to paint it. It’s just a question of which letters they’re going to paint.”

Buffkin: “I do not disagree, sir.”

Combest: “So if we don’t pony up, they’re going to paint it with wrong letters?”

Buffkin: “I believe that is accurate.”

So, the council voted to moved forward with just the name “Clemmons,” which is easily the least expensive of three options that originally were priced between $6,600 to $15,200.

“If we can take this monstrosity off of there,” Combest said of the utility logo, “then sign me up.”

If it wasn’t going to be blank, like councilman Scott Binkley commented, “Have you ever drove into a town and it said something other than the town’s name?”

Good point.

Plus, it’s better to write a check for thousands, despite being pretty much forced to do so to avoid embarrassment — although there may be a slight marketing benefit, than for a million plus for a project that, as currently planned, appears to have far more negatives (and questions) than positives for Clemmons.