CREEDMOOR — The ongoing debate over how the city should treat its water and sewer could come to a close soon, bringing with it an expected decrease in the cost of residents’ utility bills.
The city’s Board of Commissioners last week approved by a vote of 4-1 the terms of an agreement that would make it a full member of the South Granville Water & Sewer Authority.
“We think it’s going to spark a lot of great activity in southern Granville County, and everyone’s excited about it, including us,” Mayor Darryl Moss said.
The authority’s five voting members will consider the agreement during their April 8 meeting, where it appears likely to pass. The authority would pay Creedmoor $15.7 million for its water and sewer system.
Dave Currin, vice-chair of the authority’s board as well as a member of the county commissioners, had been critical of Creedmoor’s efforts to expand its water and sewer allocation authority as part of the negotiations.
But the new agreement doesn’t mention that idea, known as a “utility service area.”
For Currin, the deal is a win for all of the members of the authority.
“I think it's the wise thing all around,” he said.
Creedmoor residents could see a reduction in their bills of as much as several hundred dollars annually, according to estimates from early in the negotiating process.
And the rest of the authority’s customers won’t see an increase, which would have been likely if Creedmoor had left the authority altogether.
Right now, Creedmoor is considered an outside customer of the authority, which is why residents pay more than their neighbors.
Elected officials from Creedmoor sit on the authority’s board but cannot vote. Under the agreement, they would have voting rights.
The agreement calls for a Nov. 1 transfer of business date.
Moss said he’s hopeful the conversations about service areas for each of the municipalities in the authority will continue. He earlier had said the service area was essential to the negotiations but now believes the idea can develop through continued conversations.
Currin, however, said he doesn’t know the idea is one that will gain much traction.
Creedmoor officials earlier had discussed leaving the authority and building a wastewater treatment plant for the city or joining with the city of Oxford for its water needs.
The proposal drew fierce opposition from residents, environmental groups and the surrouding municipalities because of its cost and potential for environmental degradation.
Granville County residents opposed to the plant have said they won’t be satisfied the plant is off the table until everyone has signed off on the Creedmoor-SGWASA deal.
If Creedmoor were to leave the authority it also would divert water from Falls Lake, a concern for officials in Raleigh, where the lake is a primary source of drinking water.