Calabash board approves controversial sewer project

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Theresa Swenson - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Calabash Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to approve a $3 million sewer plan.

Town administrator Jeremy Cribb said at least 75 residents attended the meeting, and more than a dozen stood up to speak for or against the sewer plan.

Around 6:30, the four commissioners present voted to move forward with the project, provided it will not cost property owners more than $5500 per lot.

Last week, Calabash Mayor Anthony Clemmons pleaded for support of the project.

"We are standing here at the most treasured resource that Calabash has - the Calabash River," said Clemmons.  "The Calabash River is dying or basically has died."

The signs of contamination are evident:  dead oyster beds, crabs, and fish.  One of the most significant issues is sewage in the water.

"My dream and hope for our community is to have the total community of Calabash sewered at an affordable cost to everybody," said Clemmons.

After more than a decade of work, Clemmons said the town of Calabash was finally ready to service to every home in Calabash and help keep the "Seafood Capital of the World" in the seafood business.

Town Commissioner John Melahn told WECT he was on the fence about the project, but on Monday night he voted with the other commissioners to move forward with the sewer plan.

"I'm extremely concerned about the people living on extremely low and fixed incomes," said Melahn.  "It makes it a very difficult decision."

As it stands now, each homeowner will pay a maximum of $5500 over several years, a cost that no one is taking lightly.   Town officials have applied for stimulus money and five different grants.

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