ROACHDALE-- The Roachdale Town Council rescheduled its monthly meeting, which took place Saturday, but this change in meeting time did not hinder citizens from coming to speak out about a proposed gas service.
William Long, president of the board, said the state has been on the town about fixing the gas lines. If the town does not install and improve the lines within two months, the town may be charged $10,000 a day until they begin to do so.
The board had sent out an agreement for all citizens with gas lines to sign. The document, modeled after a gas signup agreement, gives state employees permission to go onto the homeowner's property, dig into the ground near the house and install new gas meters and a riser several feet long to the existing gas connection.
"The reason why we're doing this...is because the gas lines are terrible," Long said.
However, language within the agreement made several citizens anxious at the meeting. Martha Louk, town secretary, said that of the roughly 400 letters sent, more than half have been returned with signatures. The citizens at the meeting were concerned about town liability issues and other language in the letter.
A bond company drafted the agreement and is also funding the large project. Some of the language, according to the interpretation of several citizens, claims that the town can return to the homeowner's land for maintenance "from time to time" and that the homeowner is responsible for any replacements and repairs to damaged crops or landscaping.
Jim Ensley, town attorney, said he could talk to the bond company to try to change the language and create a draft of the article that would contain simpler language, be effective for one time only and would address as many of the concerns as possible. However, if the bond company does not feel it can change the language because of liability issues, the language will have to stay so the town will receive the necessary funding.
"If they're telling us we can't do it, then there's nothing we can do," Ensley said.
The board also mentioned that signing up for the service, which would come at no cost to the homeowner, is not required. However, if a problem with gas leaks arises in the future and the resident changes their mind, they must perform the work at their own cost.
"If you don't sign up, you don't get gas," said board member Jackie Jones.
The board also welcomed Jason Woodall as the new utilities manager. He will replace Bill Hubble, who is retiring on May 19.
Finally, the council agreed to hold the Roachdale Summerfest from June 24 to 25. The event would feature a parade, a 5k walk sponsored by Delta Theta Tau and other activities.