Northampton approves tap fee assistance program

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a proposal to make it easier for some citizens to afford connecting to county water.

County Manager Julian Phillips presented the information to the board during their meeting on Dec. 4.

“Northampton County Public Works Department is implementing a Water Infrastructure Assistance Program to provide county residents with contaminated private wells an affordable repayment option for connecting to county water systems,” he explained.

Instead of paying the full water tap fee at once, the program allows residents a one-time option to pay the cost monthly for 12 months. For example, the $800 water tap fee for a 3/4-inch tap would be approximately $66 per month.

The program is for citizens who have a contaminated water system that has been identified through a certified test. It is not applicable to municipality or township water systems.

Phillips noted that the proposal came about after two homes in the Pleasant Hill area recently discovered their wells were contaminated to a point where the water was unusable. The county provided those citizens with bottled water in the meantime.

“We’re going to do what we need to do to supply until we get the citizens tapped into the water,” Phillips continued, adding that he was grateful the water lines were already in place to be used.

Board Chair Charles Tyner and Commissioner Kelvin Edwards agreed that it was a serious situation that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. Tyner also stated that they were hoping to apply for grants that could possibly eliminate the tap fee altogether in the future.

Edwards motioned to approve the assistance program proposal, and Commissioner Geneva Faulkner seconded. The vote passed unanimously in favor.

During the discussion, Tyner also mentioned the Phase 6 water project, which was developed in order to bring clean water to more citizens. The project is being funded by the USDA and is expected to expand water service to approximately 200 households, mostly located in the eastern part of the county.

He stated that they should have more information about the status of that project next month.