Saluda, Henderson County discuss partnering on Tuxedo water system

Published 3:02 pm Friday, October 9, 2009

Saluda already has a purchase agreement to buy the Tuxedo water plant for $165,000. Saluda plans to eventually use the well system as its primary source, supplying the current Tuxedo customers, Saluda&squo;s Lake Summit customers and then the city.

Saluda officials say they want to continue to buy water from the City of Hendersonville as a backup source. Saluda currently buys all its water from Hendersonville.

Henderson County officials this week wanted to know specifics about a partnership, with commissioner Mark Williams saying he&squo;d prefer Henderson County to purchase the system outright and sell water to Saluda. Commissioner Larry Young said he wasn&squo;t in favor of Henderson County just being a silent partner in the deal.

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Saluda water/sewer commissioner John Morgan told Henderson commissioners that he understands board members&39; concerns, but he doesn&squo;t think the county wants to get into the water selling business. Saluda already has the infrastructure in place for the billing and management of the system.

Henderson commissioner Bill Moyer said he was hesitant to have the county run the water system, but he is open to a partnership with the city.

Saluda must get the permission of Henderson County in order to complete the purchase because the property is in Henderson County and Saluda is in Polk County.

Henderson County commissioners decided to discuss the matter further internally to resolve disagreements within the board over ownership and control of the system. The board instructed county manager Steve Wyatt to meet individually with commissioners and develop a position, after which negotiations with Saluda can begin.