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Spring Hope says no to county water
Count Spring Hope out. The board made its final decision regarding the county's water system Monday night and decided against tapping on to Phase 1 of Nash County's Regional Water System. The vote was a unanimous 'no.'

County Manager Bob Murphy, along with Buck Kennedy of the Wooten Company, attended the meeting Monday night to present an updated proposal and answer any questions. Murphy told the board that this proposal was the best the county could do and that the county was even subsidizing for some of the town's usage. Patsy King, Nash County Services and Grants Director, and County Commissioners Robbie Davis, Danny Tyson and Lou Richardson also attended the meeting.

In the new proposal, the county would provide Spring Hope with 70% of their usage, increasing 2% each year for 10 years. After 10 years, the county would provide 90%. In addition, Spring Hope would keep their wells for any use above and beyond that.

"We approached it as we're all in this together," Murphy said. "This is why we did all we could for Spring Hope. This is our best shot at it."

Town Manager John Holpe raised concerns about several things, the main one being the increase the customers would see in their water bills. Spring Hope water bills would increase by $12.60, bringing the new monthly total to $29.60. Holpe said the $29.60 was just an estimate of what the cost would be. Once all the figures come in, that number may be higher, he added. "I'm just concerned about not knowing three years from now what the average water bill would be," Holpe said. He also expressed concern over the 40-year contract.

Murphy told the board that the cost was as low as the county could get and urged them to think about what they'd get in return. "There is an additional cost and there's nothing we can do about it," Murphy said. "(But) I hope it has value to you. What you're getting is a long time water supply. You need to ask yourself, will this opportunity be any cheaper than it is now. I would suggest it's never going to happen."

Spring Hope board members expressed the same concerns regarding the increase in water bills. Commissioner Clyde Best asked why the town needed to get water from the county, adding that they had a good source of water now. He added that his main concern was the cost. "That's the one thing we're hearing from all our constituents," Best said. "It's a gamble we're looking to make. (But) I think it's time to make a decision. We take it or drop it."

In the end, board members couldn't see passing on such a huge increase to its residents.

"I cannot vote to increase our people's water bills,' Commissioner Stanley Hawley said. "They pay enough."

Commissioner Marion Clark agreed, saying she also couldn't see raising the bills so much. "And I may be sorry in the long run," Clark said. "I may be sorry."

The board unanimously voted to drop the county's plan and rely on their current source of water.

Without Spring Hope, the county will move forward with one of two design plans put together in case Spring Hope didn't agree. Commissioner Davis said the designs would look different but the water system would still happen.

"We intend to move forward with this thing," Commissioner Robbie Davis said. We've got the two designs ready, with you or without you. We intend to move forward either way."

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