Water meeting draws crowd
A group of more than 50 people crowded into the Hicksboro Fire Department annex Monday to ask questions and air their grievances about the Vance County water project.
Planning Director Jordan McMillen explained residents can sign up for one of two options available.
There is a wet tap option for residents who want plan up to hookup immediately following construction of the water lines.
Residents who sign up early, before construction in their area is completed, are only required to pay a $125 capacity fee for a wet tap. There is also a $150 security deposit, $50 plumbing permit and the cost of installing a water line from the meter to the house.
The dry tap option, for those who don’t want to connect immediately, costs $800 before construction.
Residents who do not sign up early for either tap will pay for a $1,100 connection fee, $500 capacity fee, $50 water meter charge, a $195 meter and a $150 account deposit fee.
The water rate is $7.19 per 1,000 gallons and a $30 base fee, which customers pay regardless of water usage. The average water bill for 3,600 gallons is around $55.
Vallie Stem, who lives on Hicksboro Road, asked whether fees will increase down the road.
“What assurance can you give us that it won’t increase in the future?” she said. “We were told that we would pay $35 to $45 for 5,000 gallons, and now that’s not the case.”
McMillen said he couldn’t answer that question because he doesn’t control those fees.
Stem said she signed up in 2010 when the county was emphasizing early sign-ups.
“I think they ought to keep their end of the contract,” she said.
Though the contract she signed stated the fees would be approximately $35 to 45, Stem said she still feels she was misled.
“I don’t think it’s right,” she said.
Alan Norwood, of the Dabney community, also attended the meeting Monday to get answers about his water issues.
He said he lives outside city limits, but a Henderson water line runs near his house.
Since there is already a water line there, Vance County does not plan to install a line in that area, McMillen said.
“I was under the impression the county could tap into the city lines,” he said.
But he was informed Monday that the county doesn’t plan to do that.
“That is not what I wanted to hear,” he said, adding that he didn’t know what other options were available.
Ella Fleming of Thomas Road raised concerns at the meeting about the possibility of drought at Kerr Lake.
She said she was encouraged by McMillen’s comments that drought is unlikely, but she still had worries.
“I still have a shadow of a doubt because there are so many people signing on who used to have wells,” she said.
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