Columbus gives go-ahead on agreement to connect town, county water systems

Published 3:16 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

Pass-through agreement added
Columbus and Polk County have both approved agreements to connect their water systems between Polk County High School and Polk County Middle School.
Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Feb. 16 and approved the interconnect agreement, which specifies that Polk County will pay for the water line and construction.
The construction will mean that all four water systems within Polk County will soon be connected for sharing opportunities, with a newly constructed water line between Saluda and Tryon, a water line between Tryon and Columbus and a water line soon to be constructed to connect Polk County’s Mill Spring well system to Columbus.
Columbus also approved an addition to the agreement called a pass-through agreement, which says that if Polk County purchases or sells water from another entity to which Columbus is connected, such as Tryon, Columbus will receive a one-percent pass-through revenue. The pass-through agreement will also apply if in the future Columbus purchases water from another entity to which Polk County is connected.
The same pass-through agreement is currently drafted for a joint agreement between Columbus, Saluda and Tryon for a line they share along Howard Gap Road. An example used in the pass-through agreement says if Columbus sold 1,000,000 gallons of water to Saluda at $5 per 1,000 gallons, for a total revenue of $5,000, Tryon would receive one percent of the total revenue, or $50. The same one percent would go to Columbus if Polk County purchased water from Tryon or vice-versa.
Polk County approved the interconnect agreement with Columbus on Feb. 6. County commissioners also approved the low bid for construction received from Steppe Construction at $592,465.
The agreement between Columbus and Polk County will extend for 10 years and automatically renew for subsequent five-year periods unless any party notifies the other in writing at least 60 days prior to expiration that it does not want to renew for another five years.
The pass-through agreement regarding the one-percent payment was approved by Columbus Town Council for an initial one-year period.
Polk County will also have to approve the one-percent pass-through agreement.
The county is still awaiting a public water supply permit prior to construction beginning. The water line will be a 12-inch line that will run approximately two miles along Hwy. 108 between the end of Columbus’ 10-inch water line that serves Polk County High School and Polk County’s well system located at Polk County Middle School. Polk County engineer Dave Odom reported to county commissioners on Feb. 6 that rights of way are being obtained and the county could add up to 12 new customers.
Polk County is also considering adding to the project a section of water line approximately ¼ mile long along Hwy. 9 north from the Mill Spring crossroads. The county is currently in discussions with CooperRiis Healing Farm, located just beyond the Mill Spring crossroads, regarding running a water line to their facility during the project as well.