Carroll approves emergency water agreement

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Hillsville still needs to sign on.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Carroll County Public Service Authority officials are trying to find some common ground with Hillsville in a special water agreement.
At its regular meeting Sept. 10, PSA members approved an agreement with blanks where prices should be, for use should the need arise.
The matter came up as part of the authority’s approval items, which the members approved without discussion.
“The parties recognize that from time to time each may have a need to purchase water from the other in case of emergency, abnormal use or for various other reasons,” language in the draft agreement says.
“The parties recognize that an agreement permitting the parties to buy and sell water to each other will promote the public health, safety and welfare,” it goes on. “The parties wish to set for the terms under which the parties may purchase water from the other.”
The price and the gallons involved remains a matter of negotiation, so those were left blank in the document.
Carroll and Hillsville officials will try to give the other party at least 48 hours notice of the need for a water purchase, the agreement said. The two localities pledged to work together to have the proper metering in place in order to accurately bill the other.
“The parties recognize that their ability to provide water in response to a request from the other party may be limited in the event of severe pollution, drought, fire, flood, power failure, use of water to fight fire, earthquake or other catastrophe or act of God, and agree that in the event of such occurrence, the parties will work together to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their respective citizens and water customers,” the agreement says.
PSA Chairman Tom Littrell explained the first step involved approving the general language of the agreement.
If Hillsville also approves the agreement, then officials will go back to negotiate the water rates, he said.
(Hillsville Town Council also met on Sept. 10, but took no action on the agreement.)
“We’re trying to get the framework done first then we’ll get to the nuts and bolts of it,” Littrell said.
County officials always try to cooperate with the town because residents of Hillsville are also citizens of Carroll, he added. “Peace is better than war.”
When the composition of the Hillsville Town Council changed after the last municipal election, new Mayor Greg Crowder pledged that the town would work more closely with county officials in an attempt to save money.
The town would likely use the agreement first. At the Sept. 10 Hillsville Town Council meeting, an engineer working on water plant improvements told council members that the town’s water will need to be shut off temporarily for contractors to work. During that time, the town would need to buy water from Carroll County.