Hilton Head town panel OKs cost increase for sewer extension

tbarton@islandpacket.comJanuary 5, 2012 

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Hilton Head Island officials say extending sewer service to town-owned property allow it to kill two birds with one stone:

  • provide future service for a planned park and a sailing and rowing center

  • allow nearby owners to hook up to a public sewer system.

  • The town's Public Facilities Committee approved a request from the Hilton Head Public Service District on Tuesday for an additional $160,000 in tax-increment money to continue extending sewer to areas off of Squire Pope and Marshland roads and in the Chaplin area. The town and district have been partners in the sewer work.

    The projects will provide service to town-owned property off William Hilton Parkway for a proposed linear park and off Squire Pope Road for Ford Shell Park and a future rowing and sailing center. The lines will also extend to the headwaters of Broad Creek.

    The projects also will provide immediate sewer access to more than 90 properties, as well as indirect access to surrounding land, according to service-district spokesman Pete Nardi.

    It all fits in the town's long-term goal of providing sewer service to all residents as a way to eliminate septic tanks. Officials say such systems are ill-suited for the island's high water table, sandy soil and rain levels and result in tank failures that threaten public health and the environment.

    "It's a win-win for the town to put in sewer for property it owns and pick up surrounding, under-served areas," said committee member and Town Councilman George Williams Jr. The cost increase "will provide a line more available to more people. ... It's part of our environmental policy."

    The three sewer projects were budgeted at about $293,000 in 2009.

    The committee's recommendation to add $160,000 would complete sewer extension along Squire Pope Road that began last year.

    If the increase recommended by the committee is approved by Town Council, the total cost will grow to about $450,000.

    The town will pay for the projects through TIF districts, which allow municipalities to collect taxes generated by new development and increased property values to pay for public improvements such as sewer service in blighted areas. Those improvements are designed to entice private investment and revitalization.

    The sewer construction is slated for this year, with work along Squire Pope to start first. The projects are expected to take approximately three months, Nardi said.

    Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead

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