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Atkinson re-examining new water system

READ MORE: Atkinson re-examining new water system
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Skyrocketing construction costs put a halt on plans for a new water system in Pender County, and now the town of Atkinson is going back to the drawing board. Atkinson residents approved a plan to install a new water system for the town. Mayor Jack Turner said the town secured nearly a million dollars in grant money for the project, but higher construction costs mean the $1.3 million project is going to cost a lot more. “We were going to borrow about $400,000 but with the increase in cost in materials it’s probably increased about another $300,000,” said Mayor Turner. Atkinson residents currently rely on wells to provide the water for their homes. However, residents have shown support for the new water system, despite the price increase, because they worry that the well water could get contaminated. Atkinson resident Glendal Jenkins said, “With all the farming that goes on around the community, I am sure there’s a lot of the wells that are contaminated.” Even residents like Allan Squires, who worry about personal costs, think it's a good idea for the town. “I own my own well and it doesn't cost me anything for water except for the power bill, but being with the fire department, I could see where it would help.” To offset the increased costs, nearly 160 customers could pay about eight dollars more per month than originally planned. Mayor Turner says the town failed to approve a similar plan in the 1960's and it isn't getting cheaper. “It would have cost the people about a hundred thousand dollars, and now were talking about seven to eight hundred thousand for the people’s part of it.” The town hasn't had a water system since it was founded, but now could be the time. Atkinson's Board of Aldermen will vote to approve the referendum at the next town hall board meeting. If approved, Mayor Turner said the project should take a year to complete once construction begins.

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