By Betsy Finklea
On July 1st, Grand Strand Water and Sewer began maintaining the Town of Latta’s water and sewer system as part of a contract between the two entities. The Grand Strand Water and Sewer team will also be consulting with the town about any upcoming projects or changes that the town may have. This is a contract with the Grand Strand, not a sell out to Grand Strand.
Town Administrator Jarett Taylor said two of the challenges that the town has faced has been a lack of funds and an influx of turnover.
Taylor said that Grand Strand will bring the expertise and technology that the town is lacking. For example, they have not been able to do smoke studies because of lack of funds. This will now be able to happen now that Grand Strand has entered the picture. He also feels that the price of goods needed for the department will go down. For example, Latta may only have had to buy five clamps for projects where Grand Strand would need several and can buy in bulk.
Taylor said the Town of Latta will gain from the wealth of knowledge that Grand Strand has. The Latta Town Council will still make the decisions on the water and sewer rates and will be responsible for the billing. Customers who have problems or questions will still direct those concerns to the Latta Town Hall.
Grand Strand will take three of the town employees onto their team. The town is retaining some of the employees in ancillary positions.
The Town of Latta, Grand Strand, Hanna Engineering, and DHEC will have monthly meetings.
Other Water and Sewer Projects
Bids have been taken and a bid has been accepted on the repairs on the existing water tank. The tank repairs on the existing water tank. The tank repairs are expected to start in July.
The town also has plans to construct a 300,000 gallon water tank. This will significantly increase the town’s ability to hold water. A snag with a soil issue has slightly delayed this project.
Bids have also been taken on the water line replacements on East Main Street, East Leitner Street, and East Rice Street. The work on these lines is expected to start in mid-July.
The replacement of the water and sewer lines on Highway 301 should go out for bid in October, and bids should be received in November 2019. The work should begin in Febuary 2020 and should be completed by July 2020.
The Town of Latta’s municipal budget for 2019-2020 will include no tax increase and no increase in water fees, Taylor said. There will possibly be an increase in sewer fees in the next 12 months. Latta currently has some of the lowest sewer fees in the next 12 months. The new industry, Spectrum Quartz, coming to the old Paperboard location, is expected to help the town.
Taylor said he wants the residents to take pride in the town. He encourages the public to come to the meetings and ask questions to council rather than bashing the town on social media. He said town leaders have no personal gain from holding these positions. We all want the same thing and that is seeing the town get better.