County still mulling sewer extension

Property owners to figure out payments

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — Three property owners wishing to see sewer services extended west of I-77 will have to work out the details regarding footing the bill on their own.

County Manager Chris Knopf told the Surry County Board of Commissioners three of five property owners west of I-77 are interested in helping pay for an extension of the Interstates Water and Sewer District sewer project to their properties. However, the terms are still up in the air.

Early in the calendar year then-Commissioner Jimmy Miller asked Knopf to look into extending the sewer to a couple of properties west of the interstate. Those property owners had expressed interest in receiving the service.

Knopf and contracted engineer Kevin Heath presented a plan to commissioners at the board’s retreat in February. That plan would have run a gravity sewer line across the highway and extended south of N.C. 89 parallel to I-77, delivering sewer services to only two properties.

Board Chairman Buck Golding, who voted against the initial project in the district, said he was interested in extending west, but only if the plan could pick up more customers. He proposed a plan which ran the line to the intersections of N.C. 89 and Oak Grove Church Road and Round Peak Church Road and down Oak Grove Church Road to pick up the initially considered two properties.

He also directed Knopf to contact more property owners who might have interest.

“They pay half,” said Golding, telling Knopf his terms were firm.

Monday Knopf said he had contacted the five property owners who would be directly affected by Golding’s amended plan. Two weren’t interested. Thus, another plan was drawn up which included only the properties of the three interested parties.

That plan would cost $301,600 if contractor Smith-Rowe, which was awarded the Interstates sewer project, would accept a change-order at the rates outlined in their current contract with the county.

Knopf said the three property owners are willing to put money into the project. However, their terms regarding their $150,800 portion of the project aren’t as straight-forward.

“One property owner said ‘no’ to contributing a third of the cost because she’s already contributed to the (initial) project,” said Knopf.

Jean Wright and her trust has already pledged $57,357.50 to the project in the Interstates District in its current form. She also owns three parcels immediately to the west of the interstate.

Knopf told commissioners another property owner had raised questions regarding whether his pledge to the project could be reimbursed when others who didn’t contribute opt to hook on to the system.

Knopf said he’s not ready to become a moderator in any debate regarding how the landowners come up with their combined 50-percent contribution to the project.

“I need to know how to go forward,” explained Knopf. “Do I go back and tell them to work it out among themselves?”

“I think that’s where we are with this,” answered Golding.

The board offered Knopf a consensus. Its direction was to put it in the three property owners hands.

Golding also noted the project could be more costly than expected if Smith-Rowe opts not to agree to a change-order at the rate structure in place for the current Interstates sewer project.

Property owners to figure out payments

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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