11/27/05 — New Eureka board faces same problem

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New Eureka board faces same problem

By Turner Walston
Published in News on November 27, 2005 2:10 AM


EUREKA -- A new board of town commissioners will start its term next month dealing with Eureka's sewer problems.

Townspeople hope they can find a solution to the infiltration and inflow woes, which have plagued the aging system and driven up monthly rates for customers.

Stephen Howell was elected mayor earlier this month. Two new commissioners, Wayne Taylor and Billy Martin, will join Howell and incumbents Al Head, Bobby Gooding and Myrtie Sauls on the board.

Eureka is in the process of applying for a grant from the state Clean Water Management Trust Fund to help pay for the necessary improvements to the system. The town smoke-tested the sewer lines for leaks last spring and later videotaped the trouble spots. The investigation was required for the grant application.

But not everyone in Eureka believes the system can be fixed.

Earlier this year, Luther and Lillie Mozingo circulated a petition to disband the town. Mrs. Mozingo said she is not convinced a new board will be able to solve the town's problems, especially its sewer problems.

Eureka is too small to be able to handle the provision of utilities without excessive cost to customers, she said.

"I still don't think we can support a town," Mrs. Mozingo said. "That was my whole philosophy behind the thing, that we don't have enough people here and financial support to be a town, to pay for the things we need to maintain to support itself."

Mrs. Mozingo said Eureka is not growing and that there is no incentive for a business to locate there. With no growth, the cost of sewer will remain high, she said.

"We're not that far from either Goldsboro or Wilson. Most people have cars and work outside of town. So when they're outside of town, they're shopping before they come home. So there's not going to be that financial support for a business to start here," she said.

Mrs. Mozingo said the sewer costs represent the biggest frustration.

"The main concern for all the citizens here is to try to get these sewage rates down," she said. "I think they've made some progress in that as far as trying to get help, but we need more."

Town Clerk Reta Chase said the sewer issue likely will dominate the agenda for the commissioners, at least for the near future.

"Most of it will be sewer to get them familiar with it, and then hopefully, we'll get some work started and then we'll talk about something other than sewer," she said.

Commissioner Sauls agreed.

"A solution to our sewer problem is our first priority," she said.

Mrs. Sauls said she was happy that Taylor and Martin had accepted their seats on the board. All the seats on the Eureka Town Board were determined by write-in ballots, as is the norm for the small northeastern Wayne County town.

"That's very encouraging. I think that they will be a positive voice for what we already have going on," Mrs. Sauls said.

Mrs. Sauls said she was not discouraged that no one filed to run for the board of commissioners.

"That's Eureka's little thing," she said. "It didn't discourage me. It just seems to be neighbor asking neighbor and neighbors voting for neighbors, and that's the way we do it.".