04/29/04 — Deadline looms but few sign up for sewer lines in annexed area

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Deadline looms but few sign up for sewer lines in annexed area

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on April 29, 2004 2:06 PM

If residents in the area that Goldsboro recently annexed want sewer service within two years, they better sign up by today.

Not signing up by today doesn't mean that the property owners will have to pay any more for hook-up later, explained City Engineer Terry Gallimore.

"It just means that they might have to wait longer to get service if they decide that they want it," said Gallimore.

The city sent out more than 400 letters to property owners in late March, giving the residents an opportunity to petition for sewer service.

As of Wednesday, only 12 residents had requested sewer service from the city. Most of the residents in the area are on septic tanks.

State law requires a city to inform residents of their right to ask for sewer service, once the City Council has declared its intent to annex the area, and 30 days before the annexation ordinance is passed.

The Goldsboro City Council passed a resolution of intent in February, and put two advertisements in the newspaper during the month of March explaining residents' right to ask for sewer service.

Then the city Engineering Department sent out a letter on March 29, giving residents more time to sign up for the service.

Though the city has 12 requests for sewer, it's possible that not all of those 12 property owners want the service. At a neighborhood meeting several weeks ago, a couple of people said they signed up for the service after getting the letter because they thought that they had no choice.

The decision by the Goldsboro council to annex the area has met with strong opposition by more than the majority of residents in the area. The group organized and hired a lawyer to fight the annexation.

In the meantime, the city is proceeding with its plans.

Gallimore explained that the city had to install essential sewer lines when it annexed an area.

The essential lines for this annexation would go along Salem Church Road to Buck Swamp Road and then go left down Buck Swamp Road to the city limits, he said. Any other sewer lines would be installed after people petition to get service.

If the residents of the area decide later to get sewer service, Gallimore says, they may still request it, but it may take awhile before the lines are installed.

"After this deadline, any petition will follow the normal procedure for any city resident requiring sewer service," Gallimore said. "It's prioritized according to availability of funds. If the petition isn't received by the deadline, then the city has no obligation to install the lines within a two-year period."

Gallimore said he didn't think the assessment cost for sewer would change anytime soon.

The current maximum assessment is no more than $17 per square foot, he said. The last increase to that amount was in 1997, before that, it was increased in 1986 to $15 per square foot, Gallimore said.