Revised Water Deal on the Table

WINNSBORO – Just two months ago, it appeared as if any hope of a deal for additional water from the City of Columbia was dead, with Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy walking away from negotiations visibly and publicly frustrated. But Tuesday night, Town Council voted to authorize Gaddy to sign a contract for just such a deal, which Council said was before Columbia City Council that very same night, awaiting their approval.

The new deal, Gaddy said, increases the number of gallons Winnsboro can access from Columbia from the 400,000 a day agreed to in last summer’s deal to 1 million a day. Gaddy said the sticking points that had essentially killed previous negotiations – clauses that would have allowed Columbia to increase rates or decrease flow without notice, and that would have freed Columbia from water quality assurances or any maintenance responsibilities on their end of the line – had been removed from the current proposal.

“We met with them yesterday and we’re comfortable with the changes that they made,” Gaddy said. “We can bring it across the County line and be able to supply water for the industrial park.”

Gaddy indicated that State Sen. Creighton Coleman (D-17) played a significant role in bringing Columbia back to the table with a contract that Winnsboro could agree to.

Earlier in the meeting, Council passed, at least temporarily, on a proposal from HandMade in America, grassroots volunteer organizers from Asheville, N.C., which made a pitch last month to help spark revitalization in and around downtown. HandMade’s services would have cost the Town between $6,000 and $9,500.

Councilman Clyde Sanders said he felt Connie Shackleford, the Town’s Grants Coordinator, could accomplish much of what HandMade could with workshops to gauge volunteer participation and interest.

“My personal opinion is before we spend the money we should try and see if we can do it on our own,” Sanders said.

Ultimately, Council voted to seek proposals from organizations similar to HandMade to compare their services, costs and successes.

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