County taps into water authority

WINNSBORO – Fairfield County is looking to tap into the water and sewer business.

The county, though, says it’s merely looking to work with other water providers, such as the Jenkinsville Water Company, and has no plans to force the JWC and other water companies into any agreements.

At its regular meeting Monday, County Council voted unanimously on a resolution authorizing it to proceed with creating a joint water and sewer system.

“It doesn’t immediately affect the water companies that are in the county,” County Administrator Jason Taylor said in response to a question from Councilman Mikel Trapp.

“What it does is it sets up the framework that the county can provide water and sewer services,” Taylor continued. “We can work with these companies. Once we get into the creation of it, we’ll look at various engineering.”

Taylor said toward that end, the resolution references a memorandum of understanding the county recently reached with the Town of Winnsboro, the county’s largest water provider.

State law authorizes two or more cities or counties to develop a joint water and sewer system. In the case of Fairfield County and Winnsboro, it would be called the Fairfield Joint Water and Sewer System.

According to the resolution, the commission would start with at least seven members. If additional partners join the commission, Fairfield County and Winnsboro would maintain equal membership and represent a majority of votes on the commission.

The county and town would be empowered to appoint commissioners by resolution. In the event of a disagreement over an appointee, “the decision shall be resolved by the flip of a coin,” the resolution states.

“There’s a lot of ability now with this new ordinance to reach out to the individual companies and offer to assist them or work with them in providing water services more comprehensively than in the past,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t force anything upon anybody. It gives us the ability to move forward and provide water and sewer services.”

Monday ’s vote follows a discussion of the agreement the county’s public works committee held last Thursday. At that meeting, Taylor said the purpose of the agreement is to establish a foundation that would allow the county and town to solicit grant money to help subsidize startup costs.

“This is just to set up the legal framework so we can have an authority that has the authority to execute these kinds of agreements and then accept money,” Taylor said.

In related business, the council also approved a new sewage disposal agreement with the Town of Great Falls, replacing the previous one county officials say was never entirely fulfilled.

Per the agreement, the county agrees to purchase 250,000 gallons of sewage capacity for $517,000. Plus the county pledged to spend $52,800 in engineering services for a new sewer line.

Taylor said Great Falls and the county previously had an agreement to provide sewer services in the Mitford area in the vicinity of I-77 and S.C. 200.

“It was anticipated there was going to be a lot of development in that area so we wanted to bring in sewer [services] to facilitate that development,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately the growth in that area never occurred. It never was fully realized. Great Falls took essentially a big hit on this thing because they only got like 11 customers.”

The $517,000 spent on added sewer capacity covers about $234,000 in costs that Great Falls incurred in providing sewer services, and buys out $230,000 that Taylor said the county should have paid the town, but never did.

Comments

  1. The county should have done this year ago as it is going to be hard to get it out of the hand of the king in jenkinsville

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