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County optimistic for new water district

Friday, August 27, 2004

BENTON - Scott County commissioners are optimistic following the first public meeting for a proposed rural water district for the county.

During their regular meeting Thursday, commissioners discussed their impressions of the informational meeting on the water district held Tuesday evening at the courthouse.

"We had a good crowd, a good turnout," said Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel. "The meeting went good."

Commissioner Jamie Burger said the meeting was held "to see how much interest there is in the county."

"The health will be the number 1 reason for the water district," Priggel said. "Health and safety."

"It will also help the Kelly and Scott County schools, get them out of the water business," Priggel added.

Commissioners agreed that a lot of good questions were asked during the meeting.

"We had representatives for every part of the county," Burger said, "so we had a good representation of the people. They have different problems in different parts of the county."

Commissioners said one attendee polled 25 people in their neighborhood. Of these, 15 were in favor of the water district, five said "maybe" and five said they did not want it.

Among the written comments from those who attended was one that reasoned "taxes go up anyway," while others urged "go faster" and "sooner the better."

Commissioners estimated about 95 percent of those who showed up to the meeting were in favor of the project and just wanted to know who they should pay for the initial sign up. "People were ready," Burger said.

A follow-up meeting will be scheduled in October or early November after officials get more information from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development officials on how much aid the district will be eligible for.

"At that point, we can re-evaluate some of these monthly totals," Burger said.

Burger said county residents who attended the meeting will be contacted for the next meeting and encouraged to "bring their neighbors or other interested parties."

In other county business Thursday, Burger said he has received an updated cover letter to go with the revised plans from Union Pacific officials for their connection curve project at Rockview in the northwest corner of the county. "It matches the (updated) drawings," Burger said.

Commissioners also received a confirmation letter from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for a three-foot pipe to be placed under their tracks.

County officials will contact railroad officials to schedule another public meeting.