Tega Cay approves $5.85 million to purchase water system - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Tega Cay approves $5.85 million to purchase water system

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After years of fighting, the city of Tega Cay took a big step, Tuesday, to seize control of a private sewer system they believe is responsible for hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage spilling into waterways in the past year.

"This is a huge decision for the city of Tega Cay," said Mayor George Sheppard. "It is probably the largest decision the city has made in 30 years."

 Tega Cay Water System President Rick Durham issued a statement following the decision.

"I want to emphasize that it is just the first step, however. This is a complex process involving substantial negotiations, with multiple parties, in a compressed timeframe to allow the deal to be completed as the City Manager has indicated."

In front of a small but determined crowd, Sheppard and his council voted unanimously to approve a purchase price of $5.85 million to acquire the Tega Cay Water System.

"Utilities, Inc. posted the original price at $7.8 million is what they were going to sell the system for and we got them to $5.85," said Sheppard, who says it took a lot of good negotiating to bring the price down to something affordable. 

In a statement released a few hours after the close of the meeting, Rick Durham, President of Tega Cay Water Service, Inc., talked about looking forward to the future and completion of the deal. 
 
“We are pleased that the City of Tega Cay has passed the resolution to move forward on the purchase of the Tega Cay Water Service, Inc. (TCWS) system.  I want to emphasize that it is just the first step, however.  This is a complex process involving substantial negotiations, with multiple parties, in a compressed timeframe to allow the deal to be completed as the City Manager has indicated.  We are prepared to do everything necessary to get over the hurdles that remain for the sale to come to fruition. Again, this is just the first step - but obviously a critical one - and we look forward to moving this ahead and supporting the Mayor and the Council in their decision.”

And that goes double for nearly 30 members of the Tega Cay community who were present at the special council meeting Tuesday night.

"We're on the right track," said Linda Stevenson, who lives in Tega Cay.

Stevenson said her home was flooded with sewage on Easter in 2013. She said the decision made by council Tuesday to move forward with the process of buying the private sewage system is music to her ears. 

"We know it's not over," said Stevenson. "We are fully aware of the fact that there is a lot of work ahead of us but all we want is to get this company out of our fair city."

A company that owns the sewer system she believes is responsible for spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the city's waterways.

"The fat lady hasn't started singing yet but I think she's about to," said Joyce Clark.

Council members told residents there is a solid plan for financing if the purchase is finalized but for resources needed to upgrade and upkeep the system council will have approach the state for funds.

After years of fighting for a change, Stevenson says that will be the easy part.

"It'll take a long time to wipe this smile off of our faces," she said.

Mayor Sheppard said it is a goal for both sides to finalize the deal in the next 30-45 days. 

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