Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Attention Dawn residents…?
Caroline County officials need more Dawn residents to sign up before they can proceed with the second phase of a project to bring sewer service to the area.
Reedy Church District Supervisor Maxie Rozell held a community meeting Thursday night to determine the level of interest in extending sewer lines into homes near the Frog Level community, Bethel United Methodist Church area and along Courtney, Secretariat and Concord Roads.
"We need the majority of residences and businesses that are already existing in the Phase II area to sign up or we cannot make the financing work," Rozell said.
Only 73 of the 300 eligible residents in that area have signed on so far, said project consultant Sue Rowland. About 30 people showed up for the meeting and a handful filled out applications.
Rozell said applying doesn’t commit residents to participating. The county needs the signatures, however, to show there is enough interest to warrant grants for the project.
The estimated cost for Phase II is about $6 million, which includes extending the collection system, installing individual tanks and connecting to homes. Phase I cost about $3.7 million.
The county plans to finance the second phase through a combination of grants, no-interest loans and a $1,650 to $1,750 connection fee for users that make a certain income.
All users currently pay a $25 monthly utility fee to help pay for maintenance. Based on the rules of the agencies that could provide federal stimulus funding, that fee could increase to about $32 a month after Phase II starts.
County staff members, project consultants, engineers and residents from Phase I were also on hand at the meeting to answer any financial or technical ques tions.
Dawn resident Mildred Dyer signed up Thursday because she thinks it will improve the water around her home off of U.S. 301.
A number of other residents, such as Jackie Coles, Delores Stevens and Andy Andrews, had previously signed up for the project and wanted to find out when it might get started.
Irene Fields, a Dawn native and well-known member of the community, has been going door-to-door to inform residents about the project and try to sign them up.
"There’s a lot of substandard housing here," Fields said. "This project will make the community better and make the people feel better about themselves."
FIRST PHASE BRINGS SERVICE TO 180 HOMES, BUSINESSES
Phase I of the Dawn Wastewater Treatment Project was recently completed, with 180 homes and businesses connecting to a county-operated system.
Some of those homes had never had any kind of indoor plumbing. Tommy Thompson of the Rappahannock Area Health District had declared Dawn a public health emergency and said it was "the worst area I have seen for on-site sewage disposal system."
As part of Phase I, the county provided service to 19 families that had no disposal systems and were using portable toilets. Service was also provided free to 91 low- to moderate-income families through a combination of grants.
Other users were able to pay a reduced connection fee by signing up early. That will also apply to users in Phase II.