12/02/05 — Eureka has new leaders, old issues

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Eureka has new leaders, old issues

By Turner Walston
Published in News on December 2, 2005 1:49 PM

Eureka has a whole new slate of leaders today, even if they didn't actually put their names on a ballot or make any campaign speeches.

Randy Bass handed over the gavel as Stephen Howell became the mayor of Eureka Thursday night. Bass also administered the oath of office to Wayne Taylor and Billy Martin, new town commissioners. Howell, Taylor and Martin were not on the ballot in November, but were elected via write-in votes.

Bass and commissioners Myrtie Sauls, Al Head and Bobby Gooding took the opportunity to inform the new board members of problems they would tackle as they assume their offices.

"The biggest issue that we face is the (storm water) infiltration and paying our debts to Fremont," Bass said.

Each month, Eureka budgets $3,500 to connect to sewer lines in Fremont. Bills have been higher in some months.

"In July of this year, we paid them $15,000 above and beyond the monthly payment," Sauls said. Currently, Eureka owes Fremont $22,376, according to town clerk Reta Chase.

Eureka applied for two grants to upgrade the town's sewer system to reduce leaks. If awarded, the $922,000 grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund would be used for rehabilitation of sewer lines and repair of the pump station on Baker Street.

That would be in addition to a grant of $200,000, approved by the North Carolina Rural Center in August.

"It's so our meters will read the same thing theirs do (in Fremont)," Ms. Chase said.

Next week, the town will continue smoke-testing and videotaping of sewer lines to determine the locations of leaks. Repairs also will be made on some of the town's manholes.

Bass said he is confident in the new board.

"You'll get to know each other. You'll look at each other's back, and you'll work with each other. That's the only way you can survive," Bass said.

Taylor, a licensed plumber, volunteered to look into the sewer problem. "If we just keep a close eye on what happens from here on out, I believe we can nail it down," he said.