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Former commissioner questions sewer expense

Former Tyrrell commissioner Gordon Deaver said in late March he intends to propose alternatives that should reduce the projected high cost for connecting to the county sewer system.

Deaver, who was a member of the Tyrrell County Board of Commissioners for 16 years, told commissioners in February that a zealous environmental health specialist with Martin-Tyrrell-Washington District Health Department “nearly killed this county in the 90s.”

He was referring to a septic system permit officer who applied statewide rules rigidly and issued fewer permits than her predecessor in Tyrrell County, resulting in a downturn in house construction and mobile home setups.

Now the county government itself will retard development if the sewer connection fee is too high. “We are hurting ourselves for growth with these types of fees,” Deaver told commissioners in February.

(For nearly a decade the water connection fee was $2,400, but it was lowered to $1,000 in late 2013.)

After Deaver’s comments to the commissioners in February, County Manager David Clegg said he agreed with “a lot of what Mr. Deaver said.”

Deaver had complained of the reported $25,000 connection fee as being too expensive, and Clegg replied that the figure was “direct and indirect cost,” and he believes ultimately it will be must less than $25,000.

Clegg explained that The Wooten Co., the engineers that designed the Scuppernong system, is preparing schematics to provide a listing of equipment applicable to Tyrrell’s system. Once that information is available the commissioners will set rates and charges, he said.

Clegg said, however, that “it is a given” with the type system that Tyrrell has that a pump and tank be installed at each user’s location. Deaver had suggested retaining on-site gravity-fed systems that flow into the county’s low-pressure collection lines.

Deaver said April 2 that he intends to talk further with the commissioners at their next meeting, which will be May 8.

Deaver was a Tyrrell commissioner from 1988 to 1999, when he resigned to take employment with NCDOT, which is subject to the federal Hatch Act that prohibits employees from holding partisan political office. He served a fourth term from 2008 to 2012.