Rock Springs suits could affect cost of sewer taps

Matthew Lane • Feb 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Lawsuits filed by some Rock Springs residents to prevent the city of Kingsport from annexing their property may affect the amount of money other area residents will be forced to pay to hook up to the city’s sewer system.

Work to install over 9,000 linear feet of sewer line down Rock Springs Road is expected to begin within the next few weeks. The sewer line is being run from the city limits near Westfield Drive to “The Edinburgh” development and new John Adams Elementary School.

Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said the $1.38 million project is expected to begin as soon as the contract documents are signed by the city and Thomas Construction, probably within the next few weeks. The project is expected to take approximately 270 days to complete.

Once the project is complete, McReynolds said property owners within 200 feet of the sewer line will be required to tap on. McReynolds said what would likely happen is letters would go out to the property owners telling them that within 90 days they need to come in and pay the tap fee.

“State law allows that to assist with the repayment of the infrastructure,” McReynolds said.

According to city records, 29 property owners along Rock Springs Road would fall within 200 feet of the sewer line.

McReynolds said the tap-on fee for city residents is $1,950, while county residents pay $2,250. City residents are also able to finance the tap fee — $500 down with the balance paid over a 10-year period. Kingsport does not offer financing to county residents who tap on to the sewer system.

McReynolds said residents would also have to hire a plumber to hook their homes onto the sewer system, noting the city installs the trunk line and a lateral to the easement, but not a sewer line all the way to the house.

As it stands now, the residents who live on Rock Springs Road — where the sewer line is being installed — are county residents. Kingsport has annexed the property to The Edinburgh development, but over 30 residents in this area have filed lawsuits in an attempt to prevent being brought into the city, thus putting a stay on the annexations.

Kingsport has put future annexations in the Rock Springs community on hold until the seven lawsuits that have already been filed are resolved. City officials say they hope to resolve the lawsuits by the end of the year.

It would be the BMA’s decision to offer financing to the county residents along this stretch of road. City Manager John Campbell has asked city staff to look at coming up with creative ways to encourage participation.

McReynolds said he anticipates offering Campbell a few such proposals.

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