09/07/05 — Princeton planning sewer improvements

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Princeton planning sewer improvements

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on September 7, 2005 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton will spend another $200,000 on sewer and water line improvements.

But the town needs to spend another $200,000 for more improvements, according to Princeton's contracted engineer, C.T. Clayton Sr. of New Bern.

The Princeton town board agreed during Tuesday night's monthly meeting to spend the money to replace a lift station on Edwards Street and another on Smith and Mercer streets. Clayton said the bill would be about $175,000.

He explained that the current lift station on Edwards Street was pumping all the time and could not keep up. As a result, the line was overflowing manholes, leading to possible environmental fines.

The Smith-Mercer station "is a real old problem that needs fixing," Clayton said.

The remaining money will be used to fix as many water lines as possible.

Clayton said the town had about $200,000 left over in grant money from a previous sewer project to pay for the upgrades.

Clayton also outlined nine water-line projects that would cost about $180,000. He said a $3,000 job on Floors Street was the No.1 priority. The other projects were on Edwards, South Center, Pearl, West Third and East Second streets and two on West Second Street.

Clayton began his review by saying water lines in the northwest quadrant of Princeton flowed at less than 500 gallons a minute. The best way to fix the problem, he said, would be to bore a new line under the railroad and connect with a much larger line. The cost would be about $36,000.

Later during the meeting, two out-of-town residents who had complained in August about their water bills resumed their arguments. Tracey Fields, who lives on U.S. 70-A, west of Princeton, charged the town with discrimination because his water bill was 1.5 times higher that those in a neighboring subdivision. The town charges its out-of-town customers the higher fee because of what officials say are increased maintenance costs.

"I don't mind paying the town and I don't mind being a town customer," Fields said. "But the subdivision next to me is paying less, and that's not fair."

Mayor Don Rains countered by saying some people on the Princeton water line are paying Johnston County, not the town.

Town Commissioner Walter A. Martin said that if the town reduces its rate for Fields and Marvin Woodard, who also complained, then other out-of-town customers would want the same rate.

Town Commissioner Larry Withrow said he would continue to look into the matter and hoped to have a solution by the Oct. 3 meeting.

In other water-related issues, the board:

*Agreed to pay a $668 fine from the state Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources for a sewage spill last summer. The fine was reduced from $1,293.

*Scheduled a public hearing Oct. 3 on a new flood plain ordinance modeled after Johnston County's ordinance.

*Learned the state had moved a water line on Rains Mill Road, freeing the town from a $16,000 expenditure.