01/12/06 — Princeton board tries to solve water mystery

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Princeton board tries to solve water mystery

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on January 12, 2006 1:48 PM

PRINCETON -- Just who should be supplying water for a few customers west of Princeton and for what rate remains a mystery because three water districts overlap the area, officials say.

The Princeton Town Board members tried to unravel the responsibilities and address the residents concerns about their rates at their meeting this week.

Brogden serves the south side of U.S. 70-A, Princeton-Kenly serves the north side and Princeton's town line extends to the same area.

Several residents also have complained they are being charged the highest rate.

Mayor Don Rains had met with the town's attorney, Robert Spence Jr. of Smithfield, who did not attend the board meeting, on the matter.

The board and Rains met 50 minutes in closed session to discuss the legal issues, but nothing was resolved.

Town Commissioner Eddie Haddock suggested in a motion that the issue be returned to Johnston County so that the district lines could be redrawn. He asked that Woodall Farms, one of the affected areas, be exchanged for other land that might contain future subdivisions.

The issue came to light first during the board's Aug. 3 meeting, when two residents on U.S. 70 Alternate, Tracey Fields and Marvin Woodard, complained that their water bills were too high.

Because they were buying water from Princeton and lived out of town, their bills were almost one and a half times higher than those for in-town customers. Fields and Woodard said their water came from a county line, and Johnston County charged less.

Rains said the lines and the water meters were Princeton's, not the county's, property.

Fields countered, saying that because the water comes from a county well, he should have the same rights as county water customers.

"I'm not trying to get something for nothing," Woodard said during the August meeting. "We just want to be treated fairly."

Rains asked Commissioner Larry Withrow to investigate the problem and report back at the Sept. 6 meeting.

Fields and Woodard continued their complaints in September. Fields said customers in an adjacent subdivision were paying less.