Whitmire brings attorney to council meeting over sewage issues

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lawsuit could be filed after environmental study results

After years of suffering sewage spilling into her yard and backing up into her home, Tryon resident Eunice Whitmire brought an attorney to Tryon Town Council’s meeting.

Council addressed Whitmire’s situation on two occasions during the Tuesday, June 18th meeting.

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Whitmire, who lives on East Howard Street, has had town sewage running through her yard during heavy rains, and many times backing up in her home, for almost 14 years. The town is currently awaiting results from soil and air samples taken at her home to see if there are any potential health hazards.

Whitmire asked several times how the town proposes to fix the problem. After council members answered that they are hoping to fix the situation through an approximate $700,000 new sewer line project in her area, Whitmire’s lawyer Gene Johnson stood up.

“My name is Gene Johnson and I’m (Whitmire’s) attorney,” Johnson said. “And I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to say what you were going to do today.”

He went on to say he will be “instigating action” and will see where they go from there.
Just before Johnson stood to speak, Commissioner George Baker spoke with Whitmire about the town’s water and sewer enterprise fund and how it has to pay for itself.

“From what I understand from our attorney, the water and sewer fund has to pay for anything that we do for you,” Baker said. “I don’t think we’re able to legally use money from the general fund to do anything for you because it is a water and sewer problem, so we’ve got a liability there but we don’t know what that liability is and that’s one of the problems we’re having.”

Commissioner Doug Arbogast said once somebody instigates something the town’s insurance can kick in.

Baker asked if somebody was instigating something.

“I’m hoping they do,” replied Arbogast.

“I’m hoping they are too,” said Baker.