Hartsville residents get extension in water battle - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hartsville residents get extension in water battle

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HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - A six month extension has been granted to property owners who banned together in response to the City of Hartsville's annexation plan for those living outside the city limits but using the city water utilities.

Monday was the deadline to sign the Annexation Agreement and ask for a six month extension.

In July, Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington explained that the residents would have different options when it came to their water supply. He explained they could drill a well, utilize the Darlington County Water and Sewer system or they'll have the opportunity to come into the city.

"I want to reassure the folks that are in those properties, we are in no hurry to do this," Pennington said. "We are going to look at this in-depth and find out the actual cost to the city before we push down any road."

According to the letter property owners received from Martin, S. Driggers, Sr., Hartsville City Attorney, "The City Code provides that water and/or sewer services will be disconnected from your outside-City-limits property if your Annexation Agreement is not properly executed and returned by the October 15, 2012 deadline."

"It's the way it's been done that's the major obstacle in people coming into the city," said George Atkins.

Atkins, who lives just outside the city line, says he wouldn't mind becoming a city resident. His issue was the way city leaders handled this situation over the summer. He also feels it's unfair to pay city taxes with out having a sewer system.

Many homeowners argued that the Oct. 15 deadline did not give them the opportunity to obtain alternate sources of water.

"Water is a necessity of life, and we have to have access to potable water for the safety of our families. The city is using this service as leverage to force us to sign without providing an adequate amount of time to weigh all our options," said affected property owner.

Residents affected by the water supply issue now have until April 15, 2013 to explore other options as a water source or to petition to be annexed into the City of Hartsville.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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