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Water deal reached

WINDSOR – In compromise, usually no one gets what they want.

Monday night, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb and Lewiston Woodville Mayor Carl Lee reported to the Bertie County Commissioners that the two had reached a compromise on water rates charged to the town by the county.

“It’s more than they want to pay and less than I want to get,” Lamb mused. “But it is a compromise we can all live with.”

The current rate of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons was set to increase in July of 2004, but the Bertie Commissioners agreed to let the old rate remained while the town settled a debt to the Internal Revenue Service.

Lamb has asked several times in the last few months for an increase in the rates because the county is receiving less from the town than it costs to produce the water. The commissioners, led by Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr., have balked at the idea until the town was in better financial condition.

Monday, Lamb reported the two entities had reached a preliminary agreement pending the approval of the Bertie County Commissioners.

According to the new five-year contract, the county will increase Lewiston Woodville’s water rates to $1.75 per 1,000 gallons beginning in January of 2009. It will rise again in July of next year when the rate will become $2 per 1,000 gallons.

The rate will remain the same for another six months before increasing to $2.25 per 1,000 gallons on January 1, 2010. The final six-month increase will be in July of 2010 when the price will become $2.50.

Following those adjustments, change will come once each year with a rate increase to $3 per 1,000 gallons in July of 2011.

The contract further states, “On July 1, 2012, and thereafter in July of each year, the rates will be subject to negotiation and modification as may be agreed upon by both parties in this agreement.”

Cherry asked Mayor Lee if he had any comments on the proposed contract.

Lee responded, “We met and came to this agreement. The town can live with it.”

With that, Commissioner J. Wallace Perry made a motion to accept the contract and the motion passed without objection.

“Thank you all for coming to a livable, working agreement,” Cherry said.