Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston is putting forth a major new initiative to see that every part of the county that wants a water and sewer system will have one.
Alston told the Rhino Times that, currently, Guilford County is in a better position to expand its water and sewer options to its municipalities than at any time before – and he added that he intends to see that happen.
Alston said on Thursday, April 15, that making that commitment is the cornerstone of a plan to greatly expand the value of the county’s tax base, catapult the county’s economic development forward and increase the quality of life of residents across the county.
“If Greensboro doesn’t want to supply the water, then we will talk to Winston-Salem,” Alston said, adding that there were other potential sources of water as well for the planned expansion.
He added that the move will dramatically increase the tax base due to increased ease of development. He said the new revenue from an elevated tax base would enable the county to do things to improve the lives of citizens that it’s never been able to do before.
Alston made the comments the day following a virtual meeting with the mayors and other leaders of the cities and towns in the county.
According to Alston, though there have been discussions about the expansion of water and sewer in the county in past, it can now be a reality thanks to a number of factors, including the willingness of the new Board of Commissioners to do big things and the arrival of over $100 million that’s coming to Guilford County from the federal government.
Though the money is part of a COVID-19 relief bill, it can be used for infrastructure. In addition to the money coming to the county, the cities and towns in Guilford County are also receiving millions of dollars that Alston said could go toward water and sewer.
Alston said he’s not sure at this point whether Greensboro can be convinced to be the supplier. He said he has begun those talks and further discussion would be necessary. He said the official ask from the county would come later.
Four years ago, three towns in Northwest Guilford County – Summerfield, Stokesdale and Oak Ridge – discussed going in together to develop a water system, but the expense and other factors left those plans dead in the water.
There has been some resistance – especially in Summerfield – to the idea of a water system because some citizens are concerned about the denser development water and sewer allow harming the rural nature of the community.
Stokesdale already has a limited water system with water purchased from Winston-Salem, however, the new plan would involve an expansion of that service.
Summerfield and Oak Ridge are currently on well water.
Alston said he wants to see water and sewer available to “anyone who wants to hook up,” adding that it could be Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Whitsett or any other town.