04/20/08 — Fremont must get Goldsboro approval to add sewer users

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Fremont must get Goldsboro approval to add sewer users

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 20, 2008 1:26 PM

Goldsboro might have more of a hand in economic development in the northern part of the county than some might have thought with the city in control of sewer lines that go to and from Fremont.

A home interior business on Airport Road recently requested to hook up to Fremont's sewer line, which takes wastewater to Goldsboro for treatment, to have a better system for employee bathrooms.

Fremont officials gave the request the go-ahead, but Goldsboro's City Council denied it, giving two reasons -- the hookup wouldn't generate that much revenue, and if the business was to move, city officials would have a hard time controlling how much waste was used by the next tenant that moved in there.

But what gives Goldsboro city officials the right to say yes or no to development in an area outside of its city limits?

In 1999, Fremont signed an agreement with Goldsboro, agreeing to pay the city to treat the town's wastewater.

A portion of that agreement also protects Goldsboro's system from being overused. That stipulation gives Fremont the sole choice to allow people to hook up to the system if they are requesting town sewer for property located within one mile of town limits. But for anything outside that area, the decision is up to Goldsboro officials.

Fremont Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said the decision on the home interior business didn't matter to him either way.

And he doesn't know if Goldsboro's control on the sewer system will affect economic development in the area or not.

"This is the first request that the town has received for a sewer request outside of the one-mile area since I've been here (as town manager)," he said. "Right now, there are three schools, the (Goldsboro Municipal) Airport, two group homes and the town of Eureka that are hooked up outside of the one-mile radius, and all of those were done before I came."

Fremont, he said, isn't an overly developed town, and he doesn't see an influx of business coming in anytime soon.

But if a large business were to move into the area, he would have to look at what the pros and cons were to the town. McDuffie said he believes at that point that if a large company wanted to tap into the sewer line, and it was just outside of the one-mile radius, he and Goldsboro officials would meet and work together to do what would be best for both areas.

Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman agrees.

"It's all fluid," he said. "We can talk and talk about concrete things, but in the end, we will try to work together."

He said that even after the council denied the request, he called McDuffie to let him know the decision and to get his comments on the subject.

Huffman said he isn't sure the agreement will affect economic development, and believes the council will decide on each sewer request individually.

"I believe the council will do what's best for the city," he said.

Wayne County Development Alliance President Joanna Thompson said she doesn't know what impact Fremont and Goldsboro's sewer agreement will have on future economic development in the northern part of the county.

But, she said, the newly formed Northern Wayne Task Force, made up of residents from the northern part of Wayne County, will be looking into public utilities and their impact on the area, among other things, as the group starts to meet more frequently.

"We recognize that it's a need, and we will look into that further," she said.