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Southern Nash area now part of water plan
NASHVILLE - With Spring Hope out of the picture, Nash County is looking at new areas to serve in Phase 1 of the County Regional Water System. Monday night, county officials met with citizens at the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport to provide an update on the project as well as answer questions.

Buck Kennedy, of the Wooten Company, told the 20-25 in attendance that the new area of recruitment was in the southern part of the county. Originally, the southern part would be in a different phase but with the recent decision by the Town of Spring Hope to not tap on, the county had to look elsewhere. They decided to bump up the southern part of the county to phase 1. The new section will run down Highway 97 to the Stanhope Community and will also include Southern Nash Middle School and Southern Nash High School.

Kennedy reminded citizens that the service was voluntary and not something the county was mandating. He added that having county water would provide a safer water supply than most wells offer.

"It was not mandated and it will be strictly provided where there's sufficient density of customers that want the service," Kennedy said. ""Having a safe and reliable supply is something all our commissioners want."

Some of those in attendance were from the new area being considered and were excited to have the service coming to their area. Frankie Daniel and her husband, Bert, of the Stanhope area, said they were glad the county was pursuing a county-wide water project.

"We're thrilled that we'll be getting county water our way," Frankie said. "We're tickled to death."

Frankie Daniel asked if the new areas would have to abide by the February 28 sign up date to get the incentive rate of $150. Patsy King, Nash County Services and Grants Director, said the most recent areas added on would receive a later deadline to sign up.

Kennedy said the county is encouraging early sign-ups by offering an incentive connection fee. "It is an incentive connection fee to get the initial customer base," Kennedy said. If citizens sign up early, the fee is $150 for a 3/4" line and $200 for a 1" line. To connect during construction, the cost increases to $500 and $700 respectively. To connect after construction is complete, the cost will be $1,300 and $1,860.

Other costs involved in the project, other than the connection fee, would be the cost of running lines from the right of way to the homes, which was estimated at $3-$4 per foot. Citizens would also have to pay the $55 plumbing permit fee to have the lines installed. Once construction is complete, a $70 fee would be charged.

Then there is the cost of water. Kennedy said he expects the minimum monthly cost would be $20 for 1,000 gallons. For a typical household of 4,000 gallons, the cost would be $35-$38.

One concern brought up related to fire service. The same concern has been brought up in past meetings. Kennedy said the county would put in more fire hydrants than it currently had but the system, in the more rural areas, simply could not have the larger lines.

"This is a rural water system and its not designed to provide fire protection at every house," Kennedy said.

"The county's committed," County Manager Bob Murphy added. "Wherever we can put fire hydrants, we will."

So far, Kennedy said around 1,600 have signed up. However, he expects more will sign up closer to deadline. "To make it operate, you've got to have customers," Kennedy said. "You can't support the system without customers."

King said an additional meeting will probably be held for the Stanhope Community.

For more information about the county water system, citizens are encouraged to call 462-2436.

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