By Kayla Carter
Roan Mountain Utility District General Manager Odes Roberson offered the Carter County Tomorrow Executive Board his insight on successfully implementing the Roan Mountain sewer project.
“The town, I think, will not advance or grow until a sewer system is put in,” Roberson said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Roberson said the main community concerns are, of course, costs associated with a tapping fee, which connects homes and businesses to the system, and monthly payments.
“I think you would have much more participation if you could have an extrememly low tap fee initially,” Roberson said. “The main cost is opening that ditch.”
But he said there are also funding concerns the board and the utility must consider first.
Roberson said there are many grants available for projects like the Roan Mountain sewer project, but there must be an entity involved, such as the utility district, in order to apply for them.
“The only governing entity up there besides Carter County is the Roan Mountain Utility District,” Roberson said. “You have to have the preliminary engineering report and an entity (involved) to file for these grants. Once that is done and you file to see what kind of grant money you can actually get, then you can tell people how much it is going to cost. Anything you do before that point is conjecture.”
Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson said Roberson’s presence at the meeting is proof that the board has a strong line of communication with the utility district.
“We are kind of going to follow their lead as this goes on,” Anderson said. “[The project] can’t move forward, and we can’t even apply for funding unless we’ve got someone to agree to operate the system. We can’t even say there is going to be a system unless this is something the community wants.”
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