Editor: We've said a bunch of times here at the Brew that you must pay attention to local races. Just because a candidate is your neighbor, goes to your church or works with you, it doesn't mean they will govern according to the Constitution. You need to find out who you are voting for. Because they start on the local level and then go to Washington where the real trouble begins.
I really challenge you to take a hard close look at who is running in municipal elections just as much as Presidential. You can make a difference in your town.
That being said, today's blog post is by someone who cares deeply for her country and speaks up at board meetings, etc. Her voice is very soothing to hear and people listen.
Please join me in welcoming Ms. Martha Underwood.
Sewer Issues Demonstrate Importance of City Council Elections
By Martha Underwood, 10/14/2011
Who wins the Sanford city council election matters. Things are happening below the radar that we citizens of every political persuasion should not be permitting.
Sewage treatment issues to illustrate this. Sanford’s “wastewater treatment” plant is currently running at 66% capacity. Last May construction began to double its capacity. Sewer users fees have increased 32% in the last four years—mostly to pad Sanford’s revenue and show investors that Sanford’s sewer customers—us—can payback the $53 million construction loan.
Now Sanford is talking with Pittsboro and Goldston about selling them drinking water and sewage treatment at wholesale prices—that’s cheaper than we citizens can buy it. The Sanford Herald quoted our mayor saying that Sanford can provide Pittsboro and Goldston cheaper infrastructure than they can build and operate themselves.
Why are we doubling our sewage treatment capacity? Chatham County does not need an infrastructure bailout. They are wealthy; Lee County is poor. Chatham County has 7.6% unemployment, compared to our crippling 12.9%. Pittsboro’s average single family house sells at $100,000 higher than here; their real estate taxes are 37 cents cheaper than ours /$100 evaluation. My point: Chatham County is wealthy, Lee County is poor! Who represents us on Sanford City Council matters!
There is a second stench in this sewer deal. Lee County businessman Mr. Goodnight owns 8,000+ acres between Pittsboro and Jordan Lake, which he plans to develop into a live, work and play community that is projected to grow as populous as Sanford. If Pittsboro buys sewage treatment from Sanford, Mr. Goodnight could easily attach his sewer pipe to Sanford’s treatment plant at Pittsboro and pay wholesale prices—while avoiding expanded infrastructure costs. Our current sewage treatment plant enlargement could handle Mr. Goodnight’s development. If this happens, then we Sanford taxpayers are enabling another county to prosper with no benefit to us. Who represents us on Sanford City Council matters!
There is a third vile reek in Sanford’s wastewater treatment deal. Anyone who applies to Sanford for a sewer connection is agreeing to “voluntary annexation” by the city. My request to see the fine print on the application was denied, though I was told by city personnel, if I purchased a sewer connection, “annexation was a possibility.”
In fact, annexation of all Lee County sewer customers appears to be an unwritten city policy. The county built a lift station near Colon Road and US-1, in preparation for residential and industrial development outside the city. But because of the city’s coerced “voluntary” annexation, this land—and the land near the jetport—is not being developed.
The state legislature recently passed a law to stop “involuntary annexation.” Thank you, Rep. Mike Stone, for your hard work! We realize some problems cannot be solved on the local level. Regretfully, the issue of sewer service applicants being forced to agree to “voluntary annexation” by Sanford in exchange for receiving sewer service will apparently need to be settled in the courts. I repeat: it matters who represents us on Sanford City Council!
A final word of caution! Even if Republicans win all three seats in the upcoming Sanford City Council election, we will not have a majority. We must collaborate to win on a variety of issues. These issues are ethical and sometimes ideological; they are not against people. Please do not burn our bridges with inflammatory rhetoric: winsomely present your views with facts, with logic, and with a viable long term vision that partners Sanford with Lee County for the betterment of all residents.
Who represents us on Sanford City Council matters! Please go out and vote Republican—and please motivate others to vote Republican!