Summit Moves Ahead on Water Without County
Moving forward without county participation, municipalities involved in the Moore County Summit's Water Task Force agreed Thursday to sharpen their focus in an attempt to create a regional system.
"The status quo will never get you a regional system," task force member Dave Kinney said.
The group of representatives from various municipalities agreed to focus on four interconnected recommendations made in the 2007 McGill Water Study.
Those recommendations are: Help Robbins return its water treatment plant to service, extend water service from Robbins to Seven Lakes, extend service from Seven Lakes to Foxfire Village, and then construct an intake on the Deep River and expand the capacity of the Robbins water plant to 3.5 million gallons a day.
"Those are the recommendations that will help the most people in Moore County," said Nancy Fiorillo, a task force member and Pinehurst councilwoman.
The group requested that Robbins Mayor Theron Bell, also a task force member, have a presentation ready for the group at its next meeting June 3.
During the two-hour meeting Thursday in Pinehurst, task force members reiterated a desire to work with the county, but also made it clear that the time for talking was coming to an end.
"We are going to do what we have to do to protect our citizens," Bell said. "We are willing to work with anyone, but we can't wait two years to move forward."
Bell told the task force that Robbins is moving forward with the idea of building a smaller water treatment plant now that can be expanded in the future.
"We have that window of opportunity now, and we have to take it," she said.
When a question arose about where funding for any recommended project would come from, Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and task force facilitator, reminded the group that it must have a plan first.
"We have to decide what we want to do before we can determine where the money is going to come from," Coughlin aid.
Exactly ow much the municipalities could do without cooperation from the county was a matter of debate.
Some members believed the task force only has the ability to make recommendations to the county, influencing change rather than effecting it.
"I think our ability to do is zero or less," Kinney said.
Others disagreed, including Aberdeen Town Manager Bill Zell.
He said it was "ridiculous" that the county declined to participate. He said a united effort was necessary.
"I think if we stand together, we can totally influence the county," he said. "We can influence them with voting. Cindy (Morgan) saw it (Tuesday), and next year and the next year, we can show them. We will put people in office that will work with us."
Political newcomer Craig Kennedy defeated Morgan, an incumbent, in the Republican primary for the District 3 seat on the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
Task Force Chairman Frank Zamaroni reminded the group that it will need a little of both to be successful.
"We have to start with influence, but the end result is to accomplish it," he said.
The county commissioners have said they will not participate in the Moore County Summit because it appeared to the ones who attended ne meeting that the forum focused more on complaints rather than solutions. The commissioners have said they are seeking other opportunities.
The Summit is a collaborative movement initiated several years ago by the late George Lane, who at the time was head of the Pinehurst Civic Group. It was co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and The Pilot newspaper.
Participants included towns, the county, the Board of Education, the Chamber and such private communities as Seven Lakes and Woodlake. It met periodically to discuss issues of mutual concern and to develop solutions.
"We are following through," Fiorillo said. "The county is not following through."
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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