Board to consider mandatory hook-up

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — County officials will return to the topic of mandatory sewer system at their next meeting.

On Monday, the Surry County Board of Commissioners will once again consider two ordinances which could force residents in the Interstates Water and Sewer District and the area between the city of Mount Airy and the district to hook on to the sewer system, which is nearing completion.

At the county board’s first April meeting, board members heard remarks regarding the two ordinances from affected residents.

Under the ordinances, any person who owns property adjacent to a gravity sewer line on which a structure sits 200 feet or less from the line would be required to hook up to the sewer line or pay an availability fee.

Letters went to all property owners who would be affected, according to County Manager Chris Knopf. About 30 percent of the line’s distance is a forced main, to which residents would not be required to hook on.

As County Commissioner Larry Phillips pointed out during public comments, the two groups of property owners — those who own property in the district and those who own property between Mount Airy and the district — may be treated differently.

Those who spoke against the project at the public comment session owned properties in the connecting area along N.C. 89 from the Mount Airy city limits to where the state highway intersects Pine Ridge Road.

Resident J.T. Henson, who owns property in the district, which begins at Pine Ridge Road and extends west along N.C. 89 to the intersection at Round Peak and Oak Grove Church Roads, told the board he believed commissioners should force hook up.

It seemed there was an unspoken consensus among board members at the prior meeting, as board Chair Eddie Harris told one concerned resident who lives in the connecting area, “I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

Phillips said he believed it was important to distinguish between folks in the district who lobbied for the $6 million sewer project and those simply caught between Mount Airy and the I-77 project.

County Attorney Ed Woltz also noted an agreement between Mount Airy and the county, by which Mount Airy agrees to provide the sewer services, anticipates mandatory hook-up in the district.

With the public comment session out of the way, it’s likely the county board will vote on each of the two ordinances, which are appearing in the agenda packets of commissioners for the third time.

• As part of the board’s consent agenda, commissioners could authorize the county’s inspections and tax departments to purchase new vehicles.

Two new trucks for the inspections department and a new vehicle for the tax department were to be included in the budget proposals of the two departments for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

However, both departments can use excess funds which remain in their 2016-17 fiscal year budgets to purchase the needed vehicles, according to the requests.

Additionally, veterans services director Mike Scott sent an email to the board indicating his department won’t be using funds county commissioners had allocated to his department.

The email indicated Scott had found a cheaper program, which is being used by other veterans services offices, to maintain the department’s electronic records.

The department head noted $10,000 allocated previously by the board will no longer be needed, as the initial set-up of the new program costs only $2,200, and the company charges an annual fee of $1,200 thereafter.

Monday’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners will begin at 6 p.m. at the government center, which is located at 118 Hamby Road in Dobson.

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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