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Water survey results discussed

JACKSON – At the request of Commissioner Charles Tyner, a survey was sent out to Northampton County residents who do not yet have county water. The results of that survey were presented here Tuesday night at the Board of Commissioner’s regular meeting.

“Beginning November 17 through December 6, six of our staff passed out surveys to 936 residents. We have so far received 171 responses,” reported Kirk Rogers, the county’s new Public Works Director.

Rogers noted that the survey had been listed as a public service announcement in local newspapers as well as being advertised on the county’s website and Facebook page.

The brief survey asked whether residents were interested in a service connection if they currently did not have public water supply service.

“I would say 90 percent of those responses were yes,” said Rogers, adding that they were still receiving a few late responses.

Chris Wheeler, a long-time employee of the Public Works department, also went before the Board to answer any questions.

“Some of [the surveys] we received back, they did not make a comment yes or no. They just sent it back,” explained Wheeler.

Commissioner Tyner asked if the Public Works department had ever previously sent out a county-wide survey like this to gauge citizens’ desire for public water service.

Wheeler answered they focused only on roads considered during each phase of water service expansion, and they went door to door to ask in person. From there, they looked at cost and feasibility of running lines down those roads. Contaminated private wells factored into their decision to expand water service as well.

He continued further by noting that some roads do not have county water lines yet because they are too far removed from existing lines.

“You’ve got to get to point A before you can get to point B,” Wheeler said. “There was no way we could go in and say, I want to get from nowhere to point C. It wouldn’t be feasible.”

Tyner seemed disappointed by the amount of surveys which had not been returned with responses yet. But he added thanks to the Public Works department for what they had already done to get the surveys out.

“I’m going to campaign for water,” he said, emphasizing his commitment to eventually making public water service available to everyone in the county.

Commissioner Geneva Faulker offered a suggestion to send the surveys out again, particularly to people who returned them without a yes or no answer. She also recommended reaching out to the Office of Aging to see if they could provide any support to senior citizens unsure of how to reply to the survey.

Rogers also added a brief update on the work to relocate the water line on Squire Road in Gaston. After months of preparation, the work is scheduled to begin on January 26 with a completion date of March 12. Green Engineering is contracted to handle the relocation.

“We thank you for what you’ve done thus far,” said Commission Chairman Robert Carter at the conclusion of the presentation.