DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners received some positive information last night about water and sewer projects under way in the county.
The commissioners allowed J.T. Henson with Blue Ridge Ag and Turf to speak briefly near the end of the meeting. Henson came to express his appreciation to the board for running water to his business on N.C. 89 through the new Interstates Water and Sewer District.
“I really want to thank the commissioners for water,” Henson said.
His business was the first to hook on to the system and the first to receive water. The water started running on Friday afternoon. Henson said he’s been waiting on the county to get public water to the area for more than 20 years. He believes access to the water system will encourage the expansion of businesses in the area.
“It’s been a long time,” said Henson. “I’m glad I lived to see it.”
He also told the commissioners that the area needs public sewer services as well. Earlier in the meeting, Commissioner Craig Hunter asked Jack Gardin, water and sewer projects manager, how long it would be before a sewer project for the Interstates Water and Sewer District got started.
Gardin explained that the project hasn’t started yet, partly because the county is waiting to hear back about some planning grants. He hopes to hear back about the grants by the end of August. Gardin said he would look to see if he could expedite any portions of the sewer project.
During the meeting, Gardin presented the board with updates about ongoing water and sewer projects under way. He said that the final to-do items on the punch list for the Surry Acres/Forest Oaks water and sewer extensions have been completed, and the N.C. Department of Transportation will be coming out to do a final inspection next week.
Punch list items for the Interstates Water and Sewer District will be started on this week, and final items for the Elkin/Gentry Road water project will be completed within the next few weeks. The Pilot Mountain Middle School sewer extension was 71 percent completed in July. Until the project is complete, the school is using a pump and haul contract for sewer service.
The commissioners also approved three project agreements with the town of Elkin for the Elkin/Gentry Road project. Hunter thanked Gardin for his work on the projects.
The county has faced some conflict regarding the construction of a water tower on Pine Ridge Road for the Interstates Water and Sewer District. Jimmy and Glenda Nixon, who live next to the water tower, claim the construction of the tower caused damage to their property. They met with the board last night during closed session to discuss the matter. Board Chairman Paul Johnson said after the meeting that several different options were looked at regarding the water tower. He said information will be provided at a future meeting.
Also related to development in the county, Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, updated the board on the partnership’s efforts. He introduced new EDP Vice President LeeAnn Stokes to the board.
“I think you did a great job in picking her,” said Commissioner Jimmy Miller.
“We had a lot of good candidates,” Tucker remarked.
Tucker has been with the EDP for a year, and he said June and July of this year were the busiest yet since he has been here.
“We are seeing more activity,” said Tucker.
The EDP president said he would be meeting with a client this week who is serious about locating a business here. There are also local companies now considering expanding in the area.
Tucker will be traveling to Atlanta, New York City, New Jersey, Boston and Chicago before the end of the year to forge connections with companies that could consider coming to North Carolina in the future.
“We haven’t turned the corner yet, but we hope to hear some good news soon. We should be calling on you real soon,” said Tucker.