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Northampton considers water expansion

JACKSON – The Northampton County Public Works Department has been working on a possible water system expansion in some parts of the county. Public Works Director Kirk Rogers provided an update to the Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting here on Monday, May 20.

“It looks like we’re going to have about 230 homes that we can encompass with this project,” Rogers explained. “The list of roads along with a map was sent to USDA on April 29 to see if we qualify for a SEARCH grant.”

SEARCH stands for ‘special evaluation of assistance for rural community and households.’ At the time of his presentation, Rogers said they were still waiting to hear from USDA about the grant.

Rogers said the grant, if awarded, would be for $30,000 and could cover expenses for things such as the preliminary engineering report for the project. He also stated the county was in the process of receiving funds from a different grant as well which would help the project move forward.

The total estimated cost for the expansion project is approximately $4.5 million.

Many of the roads proposed for the project are located in the northeastern corner of the county in the vicinity of Severn, Pendleton, and Conway areas. Other roads include two at Lake Gaston and one near Pleasant Hill.

The list of roads—either fully or partially proposed to receive county water service in the expansion—include Mandrake Court, West Main Street Murfreesboro, Stanley Drive, Galatia Road, Barrett Cabin Road, Turkey Branch Road, Vaughan Creek Road, Horne Road, Whites Road, Big John Store Road, Pineridge Lane, Stanley Barnes Road, Willis Hare Road, and Boone’s Bridge Road.

Board Chairman Charles Tyner said water is his number one priority, and he hoped to make sure more than 90 percent of county residents had access to the county water system. If they don’t receive the SEARCH grant, he said they would start looking right away for other grants to pursue the project.

“The water enterprise system pays for itself. It’s not taxpayer dollars,” Tyner stated after Rogers’ presentation. “The people who use the water are the ones who pay the bill for the water system.”

According to Rogers, speaking to the News Herald on May 28, they were still waiting on notification about the SEARCH grant status.