WINNSBORO — Mayor Roger Gaddy officially announced after this week’s Winnsboro Town Council meeting that he would be running for another term and, if elected, it would likely be his last as mayor.
His focus? Water, economic and quality of life issues for Winnsboro.
Gaddy said interested parties will meet in February to explore the formation of a regional water authority. Mid-County and the Town are on board but there are issues about working out the governance of the regional board and the methods by which it would function.
Gaddy said all parties paid the $5,000 fee to fund an exploratory committee. Next, bylaws need to be put in place so people will know what they are joining before they commit. As a major supplier of water, Gaddy said the town believes support of the regional water authority is a good way to go.
He noted that unlike other towns, Winnsboro makes about 1 percent profit on water sales. Lower water costs than some other cities, such as Columbia’s water rates, make upkeep of lines and related expenses hard for the town to afford.
It would be easier to apply for grants and low interest loans if more entities were involved. Gaddy said the town cannot bear the brunt itself.
“We have spent three to four years looking at alternative sustainable service,” Gaddy said
There is a tentative agreement about using Lake Monticello but it will cost $8 million to $10million to run the line required for that to be a water source for the town.
If it becomes a bond issue in terms of funding, Gaddy said it made economic sense to spread out bonds over a larger percentage of people than just those in the town limits.
“Anderson and Horry counties have (created regional water authorities) and it worked well when all parties united together,” Gaddy said.
The town instigated the formation of a regional water authority in response to the county’s severe drought situation. Rather than join a water authority at that time, the county preferred to engage in talks to buy the town water system, but those negotiations fell through.
It is critical to have all players to sit at the table to figure out what to do about development. “The best opportunity is to try and develop a water authority,” Gaddy said, which would include water and sewer for the entire county.
When asked where that left the Jenkinsville Water Company, Gaddy said the JWC was invited to attend the meetings and contribute but since the company is located closer to big water supplies and wells that they felt they were self sufficient enough to not need an authority.
“We would welcome them if they wanted to participate,” Gaddy said.