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Hertford County considers taking over Union Utilities

WINTON – Hertford County could soon be taking over the Union Utilities Corporation (UUC).

During Monday’s regular meeting of the Hertford County Commissioners, County Manager Loria D. Williams presented a request from the UUC to have the county explore the possibility of assuming the responsibility for the water system.

“This letter is requesting the Hertford County Commissioners explore the possibility of the county assuming the responsibility for the Union Utilities water system,” UUC Secretary Anne Brinkley wrote. “Union Utilities is self supporting at this time with no outstanding debt.”

Williams said she had been discussing the possibility of the county taking over the system with Thomas Lewis, the president of UUC.

“In those conversations, we have asked questions,” Williams said. “They have clearly paid for all of their water lines. We have also discussed water rates.”

Williams said she wanted to make sure it was clear that those currently being serviced by Union Utilities would come under the county’s rural water district and rates would be set by the county.

“Users need to be aware of the potential increase in water rates,” Williams said.

Commission Chairman Curtis A. Freeman asked if what Williams was requesting was simply to proceed with the study and she indicated it was.

County Attorney Charles Revelle suggested the board should make a motion on the matter to clarify for the record it was their intention to investigate the possibility and not to assume the system at this time.

Commissioner Dupont A. Davis asked Public Works Director Melvin Nichols if it would cost more in the way of personnel to take over the system.

Nichols said it wouldn’t and added that the only area he was concerned about was the possibility of needing meter upgrades.

Williams added, “Once we gather all the information associated with it, we will bring it back to you.”

Davis made the motion to further explore the possibility with Commissioner John Pierce offering the second. It passed by a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer absent.