County water service still a struggle

Commissioners keep base price at higher rate
Apr. 07, 2014 @ 11:45 PM

Debate over funding and pricing for the county's water project waged on at the Vance County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night.

The board made leeway on the payments for engineering fees and Phase 3 power, agreeing to allocate more than $60,000 of its contingency fund to engineering inspection and design services already rendered.

Commissioners were not in unison on base prices for customers and funding opportunities for more road servicing.

"There are two issues, one is a monetary issue, the other is a geographical issue," vice chairman Archie Taylor said.

Commissioners contemplated services areas, such as Foster Road and N.C. 39, and differed over whether to hand them off to a third party or pursue funding themselves.

Commissioners made their opinions heard over the use of the Kittrell Water Association.

"This is a significant pocket of customers for either us or Kittrell," commissioner Gordon Wilder said. "I don't want to lose those numbers to Kittrell, and then we don't have the numbers we need to get down 39. That is my district. I have people, and I, myself, want water down 39."

The board approved the water planning committee's recommendation to pursue grant funding in addition to Kittrell Water Association on Foster Road, but Chairman Deborah Brown stressed that emphasis be put on the areas of town that need it most.

Although more funding is being planned, commissioners approved the motion for the water planning committee to refund the proposed waves of contracts for people who couldn't get water in their area. Additionally, should water be added to their area later, those residents will pay the original $125 fee.

There are currently 260 customers using county water, and sign-ups are growing every day, according to the Envirolink report given by project manager J.P. McCann. The Water District Board, which is composed of the commissioners, has a goal to add 346 contracts by June.

Debate continued on confusion over the base price, which the water planning committee advised should remain at $30.

“I do not agree that people that signed up for $20 should have to pay $30,” Brown said. "The public didn't make a mistake; we made a mistake."

In other actions, the board agreed to:

• Approve a three-year contract with Carr Riggs Ingram, an accounting firm, to audit the audit the county’s financial information for the next three fiscal years.

• Approve to do a financial audit of five fire departments.

• Approve the Spring Litter Sweep Proclamation for April 26 through May 10.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.