House approves bill to amend water supply and quality law
Updated: 06/27/2012 06:04 PM
By: Bob Costner
GREENSBORO - Building infrastructure is expensive.
And that's one issue some elected officials have with the bill to amend the state's water rules.
"We look at infrastructure all the time, and we know how expensive it is, it's necessary, but it's expensive,'' said Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson.
Senate Bill 382 would require cities to provide water and sewer service to all property owners within what's called "urban growth areas," which opponents said aren't defined.
Legislators say the bill was prompted by city of Durham voting against extending water and sewer service to the controversial N.C. 751 South project over worries about sprawl and congestion.
"My concerns are more about the language and what applicability that might mean statewide, or if it's simply targeted towards the local area, in Durham,'' said Greensboro Water Resources Director Steven Drew.
Proponents said providing water and sewer service to developers is an issue of fairness and the bill would prevent municipalities from picking and choosing who they serve.
Water officials said engineering questions are part of the equation.
"Sometimes it's easy to serve one customer easily, but it's not so easy to serve another, it takes much more resources and infrastructure," said Drew
The bill would allow infrastructure charges, and charging twice as much as people who live in the city for water, but officials are still concerned that residents would have to bear some of those costs.
''The citizens of Greensboro shouldn't have to pay for that, they should not have to bear the costs of infrastructure, for somebody outside the city," said Johnson.
And if the measure is passed into law?
"We'd have to talk about it as a council, how we'd proceed with this,'' said Johnson.
News 14 Carolina left messages for the bill's sponsors, and another supporter, but had not hear back from them by late Wednesday afternoon.
The measure also extends the deadline by two years for new developers to comply with laws to decrease pollution in Jordon Lake.
The measure will still need to pass the Senate before being sent to the governor.
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