City, county consider collaboration to bring public water to more residents

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 09:29 PM

The Henderson City Council agreed to have another meeting before deciding whether it should move ahead in discussions with the county about collaborating to provide funding for public water in the extra-territorial jurisdiction, which does not have access to city services.

County Commissioner Tommy Hester asked the council to consider working with Vance County to fund the construction of infrastructure that would supply public water to sections of Poplar Creek and Ruin Creek roads — as well as the Hunters Ridge and Carolina Pines subdivisions and Weybossett and Parrott roads.

Hester said the county’s water project, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers opportunities for the commission and city council to join resources and work together.

“The county has had money loaned from USDA, and it has grant money,” he said.

He said the USDA contract gives the county 12 months to spend portions of the funding before it can no longer be used for the project.

“I don't want to give any money back if we could provide water to citizens in this community and in Vance County,” Hester said. “I'm not here as a county commissioner representing the county commissioners. I am here as a commissioner representing my constituents in this area. They wanted me to come. I am just here to ask and find out what we can do or not do in the future.”

Councilwoman Sara Coffey requested they discuss his proposals at the next work session.

“It seems pretty complicated, and I know I would like to understand what exactly it is,” she said.

City Manager Ray Griffin said he would reach out to his counterpart in Vance County to begin moving forward.

“Mr. Hester is not here as an official representative of the county,” Griffin said Monday night. “If we are going to negotiate service territory and how we are going to work this, we are going to need to establish a direct liaison with the county commission so we have both government entities negotiate together.”

Councilman Mike Inscoe has served as the liaison to the county commissioners in previous discussions.

The next scheduled work session is set for Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.