Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba wants to provide water and sewer service to the town of Pleasant Garden.

The Pleasant Garden Town Council scheduled a special meeting to approve the agreement on Nov. 2, and the agreement was scheduled to be approved at the Greensboro City Council meeting on Nov. 21.

None of that happened. The Pleasant Garden Town Council special meeting was canceled and the agreement was not on the Greensboro City Council agenda for Nov. 21.

The roadblock, in a nutshell, is that providing Pleasant Garden with water and sewer service would violate a longstanding Greensboro City Council policy, and the Greensboro City Council had not been informed or consulted about the plan to extend water and sewer service to another municipality.

The Greensboro City Council often wiggles out of tight spots by noting that it is a “policy making” board and it should not be “micro-managing” the way those policies are carried out.

That wouldn’t work in this case. The plan to provide Pleasant Garden with water and sewer service directly violates a long-standing City Council policy of not providing water and sewer service to areas that do not request annexation by Greensboro.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan, in the Nov. 6 work session on this topic, noted repeatedly that the agreement presented to the Pleasant Garden Town Council clearly violated City Council policy.

Vaughan had a lot to say about the proposed agreement and none of it was supportive.  She noted that the extension of water and sewer service to Pleasant Garden was to allow the town to take advantage of the economic development that the Toyota battery plant being built at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite was bringing to the area.  Vaughan said that Greensboro had already spent over $140 million to provide Toyota with water and sewer and that Pleasant Garden had spent “zero.”

Vaughan said that providing water and sewer to Pleasant Garden would allow the town to compete with economic development sites in Greensboro, sites that would be farther away from the megasite and where property taxes would be much higher.

Vaughan said that the council had promised the people of Greensboro that the city would benefit from the $140 million investment in water and sewer infrastructure to the megasite in Randolph County because of the supply chain economic development it would bring to Greensboro.  She said that providing water and sewer to Pleasant Garden would have those sites competing directly with sites in Greensboro and that Pleasant Garden had no skin in the game.

Vaughan said, “So from my perspective this is a huge leapfrog. We want our whole region to benefit from Toyota, absolutely. But it doesn’t mean that we have to pay for everybody to benefit. Because we have to benefit. And, really, my biggest issue is that we have been good stewards of water and sewer. We’ve looked long range and made sure that it was well capitalized, and it shouldn’t be capitalized just to give it to other places that we get no benefit from.”

Councilmember Zack Matheny said, “Quite frankly, it’s a slap in our face that Pleasant Garden had this in a document to vote on prior to any of us seeing it. It’s a slap in our face.”

Matheny expressed disbelief that Greensboro staff had participated in showing sites in Pleasant Garden to Toyota officials and not sites in Greensboro. He noted that the sites in Pleasant Garden were not actually viable economic development sites because they didn’t have water and sewer, while the sites in Greensboro did.

Jaiyeoba, in his defense, noted that the City of Charlotte – where he worked before coming to Greensboro – provided water and sewer to a number of municipalities in the area.

The City Council reached agreement that it would consider the proposal for the next couple of months while it waited for a US 421 corridor study to be completed.