TURKEY — Town officials are currently keeping an eye on Turkey’s water fund balance and system to avoid problems in the future.
During the meeting, it was announced that the North Carolina Rural Water Association (NCRWA) will probably help by conducting a free study on water rates. The NCRWA was established in the mid-1970s and provides technical assistance and training for water systems.
The matter was brought up during a town audit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year presented by Bryan Scott. During his remarks, Scott said state officials are concerned about the low revenue for a town of Turkey’s size. Some of the measurements includes expenses and revenue, which is compared to similar-sized towns. The fund balance, which had up and downs, ended at $165,000, according to Scott, who said the Local Government Commission may analyze figures and make a request to see plans focused on increasing the water fund.
“The water fund is like a business,” Scott said. “If anyone owns a business, they got to make money and create capital for future expansion or repairs. We all know infrastructure ages and water gets more costly to get out of the ground and put back into the environment.”
One of the examples mentioned was water tank maintenance and other expenses. Scott suggested a rate study, with comparisons to other municipalities. In February, Turkey leaders increased water by 30 percent within town limits and 20 percent for residents receiving services outside the boundaries. The average bill for a Turkey resident is about $37 and includes trash service. Rates vary with water usage.
It was noted that Turkey’s rate are $10 below the county level and is probably one of the lowest municipalities in Sampson County. Officials at the meeting said Sampson County authorities previously purchased water from Turkey, until a nearby well was built.
Travis Anderson, a contractor who provides water maintenance to Turkey, also discussed infrastructure needs such as the water pump and other expenses such as motors. Anderson said he’s been working on replacing meters throughout the town. If needed, one of the main expenses in the water system is electric motors, which could cost between $5,000 to $8,000.
When asked by Mayor Donald Myers about the alternatives to raising rates, Scott said the options were slim. Along with the rate study, other suggestions was to monitor water usage and meters to track how much water is being pumped out.
There was a consensus and hope that the NCRWA will assist in 2018 with water maintenance and rates.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.