Bypass work may cost county

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 13, 2003

County officials are looking into whether they have to pay for sewer line relocation that must be done as part of the construction of the Chesapeake Bypass project.

Union-Rome Sewer System administrator Tim Porter told the Lawrence County Commission late last week that the third lane of the bypass will require the relocation of sewer lines, and that while the cost of the relocation falls on the county's shoulders, the state has offered to do the work with the county reimbursing the state for the service.

"It's a time thing," Porter said. " The work must be done and it's cheaper for them to do the work and us reimburse them."

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"Would the sewer lines had to have been moved if the road had not gone through?" Commission President George Patterson asked.

"No," Porter replied.

"Then I've got a problem with that," Patterson said.

"If it has to be moved, why does it fall outside (their responsibility)? commissioner Jason Stephens asked.

"It's outside the easements," Porter answered.

"I disagree," Patterson said.

Stephens countered that the Stephens Insurance Agency sign outside his office had to be moved because it was in the project's work area, and the state reimbursed his agency for the cost of having the sign moved. Why then, he asked, should the state expect the county to pay for having sewer lines moved?

The commission decided to ask State Sen. John Carey for his help in the matter.

"We need to let them know out sentiments," Patterson said. "That's just a way of passing the cost on to the local people."