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Martin County makes well-fee counteroffer

By Staff
Reworked permit fees head to other counties for their consideration
By DAN PARSONS, Staff Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The Martin County Board of Commissioners approved Wednesday night a counterproposal to proposed well-permit fees it voted down a month ago.
Pending approval by the two other counties served by the Martin-Tyrrell-Washington District Health Department, it soon could cost $225 to obtain a permit to dig a new well anywhere in the three counties and $60 to obtain a permit for major repairs to an existing well.
The health department had recommended charging $400 for a permit for a new well and $155 for a permit to make major repairs to a well. Martin County commissioners voted against those proposed fees, sending MTW back to the drawing board with the deadline for requiring well permits looming. MTW cannot enact a fee change without unanimous consent among the three counties’ boards of commissioners.
By state mandate, well permits will be required in all counties by July 1, 2008. MTW decided to implement its permitting process early to become eligible for $35,000 in state grant money — an incentive to jump start the program prior to the July 1 deadline, according to Commissioner Al Perry.
Commissioner Mort Hurst, who led opposition to the proposed well fees at the commissioners’ September meeting, disagreed with the incentive package.
At their September meeting, commissioners asked Martin County Manager Russell Overman to meet with Washington County and Tyrrell County managers to discuss the well-permitting fees. Prior to that meeting, commissioners in Martin and Tyrrell counties had approved the fees proposed by MTW.
To be consistent, Overman based his counterproposal for well-permit fees on those MTW already charges for permitting an on-site septic tank.
Using that “logic,” Overman said, MTW should charge $225 for a new well permit because it costs MTW about $465 to inspect a new well.
Costs associated with permitting an existing well after major repairs mainly consist of a $60 fee for testing a water sample taken from a well. Overman proposed the health department charge a well-repair permit fee at least equal to the cost of testing a water sample taken from a well.
Seconded by Perry, the motion passed with only Hurst in opposition. The proposed fees will be forwarded to Washington and Tyrrell counties for their consideration.