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A Way Forward

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Not to be premature, but it looks like a new day might be dawning in the Twin Counties — one that holds the promise of an amicable relationship between the Town of Hillsville and Carroll County.

Though the town and county have cooperated in the past when they expected mutual benefits, it seemed the officials for the two localities did not see eye to eye very often.

An atmosphere of hostility seemed to be the norm, as water and sewer disagreements stretched on for half a dozen years or more.

Since this disagreement began, the issue has been considered by three different boards of supervisors, been through extended negotiations between the town and the county, and nearly saw an agreement that included a boundary adjustment and a rates resolution, only to have Rural Development quash it because the federal agency figured the rates proposed by the town were too high.

Now, it appears Carroll and Hillsville may have found a way to clear the air.

In what could be described as a paradigm shift, negotiations have brought the county and the town to the verge of a deal that would put the water and sewer billing disagreements behind them.

The agreement could settle the water and sewer disagreements, allow Hillsville to annex portions of the busy commercial area at Interstate 77's Exit 14 and continue the meals and lodging tax revenue sharing from there, too, 25 years into the future — if approved by both parties.

As County Attorney Jim Cornwell said in talking about the settlement proposals, "We will start afresh."

So far, there's been no indication from either side that the settlement can't come to fruition.

If approved, new possibilities could open up. Imagine the town and county developing a recreation park jointly, for example.

Hopefully, this will put Hillsville and Carroll County on a path to normalized relations with all the attendant benefits for citizens.