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NC: Cumberland board sidesteps request to repair d…


“I’m just leery of dam projects,” Commissioner Jeannette Council told Cobranchi.

And not without justification.

A 2008 dam fix-up at Lake Upchurch ended up costing three times more than original estimates. The commissioners were roundly criticized for that.

Cobranchi said state environmental regulators are threatening to sue the homeowners in effort to get them to fix the dam or breach it permanently.

Not only does the association lack funds for the estimated $238,000 repair job, Cobranchi said his group cannot even pay $25,000 for preliminary design work.

Asking each lakefront owner to pay $14,000 as a special assessment for the dam repairs was too much for the commissioners, who voted 6-0 to deny Cobranchi’s request. Commissioner Jimmy Keefe was absent.

The story was a bit happier in Cedar Creek, where property owners caught a late break as the commissioners voted to assess them for an $84,098 water project.

Acting on a tip, county officials said they discovered they had overlooked two property owners who have tapped into the new water line along Cedar Creek Road.

Adding the two properties to the assessment roll reduced the amount each owner must pay from $4,203 to $3,823.

The commissioners are willing to finance the assessments over 15 years for the owners at 6 percent interest.

One homeowner, Hilda Russ, said she appreciated getting clean water. But the retiree said the 15 annual installment payments were still too high for her.

But Kenneth Edge, chairman of the commissioners, said he thought the Cedar Creek homeowners were getting a fair deal.