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County considers water consolidation, rate plans

Rodney Tart


    Real steps to consolidate Columbus County’s five rural water districts could take place by mid-September, county commissioners indicated after hearing a consultant’s report Monday.
    Rodney Tart of Wilson based Green Engineering, LLC, presented a two-hour summary of a comprehensive evaluation of the county’s water systems commissioned by commissioners in February.
    Tart recommended that the county consolidate the five water districts and use its existing cash reserves to pay off the balance of its District 1 debt, and a portion of the outstanding bond balance in District 2, a total of $1.3 million, trimming $100,000 in annual bond payments.
    Tart also recommended:
•    A resolution consolidating the county’s water districts be adopted in September.
•    A concurrent “Interlocal Management Agreement” that would leave those districts as legal entities, managed by the county as one.
•    Paying off bond debt in District 1, and part of that debt in District 3, in October.
•    Implementing a new uniform fee structure for water customers across the county, with annual fee increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.
•    The elimination of property taxes in Districts 2 and 3 for the fiscal year beginning next July 1.
     See much more on this story in the Aug. 28 Tabor-Loris Tribune print edition.

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