Commission plans hearing on proposed water line

Homeowners' interest in hookup to be gauged

November 29, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

As soon as the Carroll County commissioners' schedule allows, the county will hold a public hearing on a proposed water line along Obrecht Road near Sykesville.

The line would run for 2,050 feet under Obrecht Road to an existing water main and eventually connect to a proposed water treatment plant at Piney Run Lake. About a dozen homeowners on private water systems could hook into the new line at their cost.

The hearing will determine how many homeowners are interested in capping their wells and using the county system. The county charges residents a $4,725 fee to connect to the public system. The homeowner also must bear the cost of running a line from the main to the residence.

The 7,000 homes and businesses on the public water system in South Carroll also pay a phased-in utility maintenance fee that began July 1.

Hook-up and maintenance fees help pay for improvements to the water system and projects such as the Piney Run plant, estimated to cost about $14 million. The county has not compelled residents to use its system, but financial projections take the fees into consideration when calculating how to pay for capital improvements.

"We have gotten into a hole when some people did not hook into the system," said Doug Myers, county director of public works. "The question is, do we force 12 houses to hook up? These are houses counted in the water service area and they could help pay for the system."

Obrecht Road homeowners involved in the project will receive a notice of the hearing and a request form for a hook-up.

"We do not want to force anyone," said Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier. "I would prefer not to have anyone have to. We should leave this open. Whenever they hook up, we will collect the fees. There will be some people who want to and a lot of people who cannot afford to."

The county needs the new pipeline to improve water quality and pressure in the area and will install the line regardless of the plant, Myers said. The Piney Run project is unpopular with many South Carroll residents and has yet to receive state approval.

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