County to pursue Shay Street water project

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — Residents on Shay Street will wait as county officials attempt to negotiate a plan to deliver water services to the area southeast of Mount Airy city limits.

On Monday evening the Surry County Board of Commissioners instructed County Manager Chris Knopf to look at sharing the costs of an extension with the city and the residents who will benefit from such a project.

After residents on Shay Street brought up concerns regarding the quality of their well water back in September, the board directed Knopf to garner an estimate for such a project.

On Monday Knopf presented an estimate of about $139,000 to complete work on the water line.

“It sounds like they need it, so I’d love for them to have it,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson, who with Commissioner Larry Phillips represents the Mount Airy District on the county board. “Some of these property owners are desperate.”

There are 24 properties which would be affected, according to Planning Director Kim Bates.

Bates mailed surveys to all affected property owners, and according to correspondence included in the agenda packets of commissioners, 13 property owners were interested in public water. Twelve indicated they would pay a monthly fee of $30 to $40 for the service — in addition to paying for the water they use.

Most respondents to the survey indicated multiple issues with their wells. These included contamination, iron content, a bad smell or taste, low water pressure and volume, discoloration and a need to replace well pumps often.

Johnson floated the idea of sharing costs with Mount Airy, as the city would benefit from the sale of water to those purchasing water on the new line. Property owners may be expected to foot a portion of the bill as well.

“They (property owners) need to share it, and Mount Airy needs to share it,” Johnson told Knopf before the board gave its consent to have the county manager begin negotiations with all parties involved.

Phillips asked if the street was included in the Flat Rock-Bannertown Water and Sewer District; he noted that a special assessment fee paid by the residents who benefit from the proposed water line could be used to help fund the project if it’s included in a water and sewer district.

Johnson said his proposal of splitting costs three ways was “just a thought.” However, he is sure the city ought to contribute dollars to such an extension.

“I would like to see Mount Airy fund an equal percentage (to the county’s percentage),” remarked Johnson.

Knopf will move forward by contacting city officials to see if they have interest in helping to fund the project.

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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