Northwest Observer

Preview: Sept. 5 Oak Ridge Town Council meeting




OAK RIDGE – During its monthly meeting this Thursday, Sept. 5, Oak Ridge Town Council plans to review an analysis by a consultant that projected revenue from a proposed municipal water system would exceed expenses.


Projections by Envirolink Inc. show annual revenues would exceed costs for operating a water system for new subdivisions with 30, 40, 55 and 75 houses. The analysis is based upon a household paying a base charge of $15 a month and a usage charge of $5 per 1,000 gallons, according to Envirolink’s report delivered to council members. The council would set actual rates.


Mayor Spencer Sullivan proposed in May that Oak Ridge establish a municipal water system relying upon community wells in new subdivisions with 30 or more lots. To evaluate the feasibility of a system, the council hired Envirolink, which operates community wells in some Oak Ridge neighborhoods. Its report is the public’s first look at potential costs versus revenues for a system that critics including some members of the Town Council, the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board and the Finance Committee have said may operate inefficiently and wind up costing taxpayer dollars.


The analysis reiterates assurances by Sullivan and other proponents that a municipal water system would have no effect on households already using community and private wells since existing users wouldn’t be required to connect to a new system. In the event that existing subdivisions would want to tap into the town’s system, regulations would “provide flexibility for future acquisitions” of existing community wells, according to the analysis.


Town Manager Bill Bruce plans to review how town ordinances would need to be amended for the establishment of a water system. After Bruce discussed proposed changes with the P&Z Board last month, four of the board’s seven members criticized or expressed reservations about the creation of a municipal water system. By a 4-3 vote, the board recommended changing the wording of the ordinance that would govern the system, with the final decision resting with the council.


With Envirolink’s help, the council is evaluating financial, legal, operational and other considerations before deciding whether to establish a municipal water system, Bruce told the P&Z Board last month.


Residents will get the opportunity to express their views during a public hearing. Hearings are required by state law when municipalities are considering changes to ordinances.


In other business, the Oak Ridge council plans to consider two requests by Oak Ridge Military Academy to rezone property on both sides of N.C. 150 to prevent demolition of historic buildings on campus.


The council also plans to consider rezoning of 52.6 acres on N.C. 150 west of East Harrell Road. A vote on the rezoning request last month didn’t stand because the “yes” votes didn’t represent at least two-thirds of the five council members, as required for the first hearing of a rezoning request (Mayor Sullivan recused himself from voting because he is one of the property owners). 


want to go?


Oak Ridge Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 5, at Town Hall, 8315 Linville Road

Preview: Sept. 5 Oak Ridge Town Council meeting

Preview: Sept. 5 Oak Ridge Town Council meeting

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