Region’s localities to discuss sewage, jobs, other topics

Published 10:25 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

FRANKLIN—Officials from Franklin and Southampton and Isle of Wight counties will meet Wednesday to discuss matters of common interest.

“We’ve got quite a few things on our agenda to talk about as far as regionalism, and what we can do to move forward,” Phillip Bradshaw, chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, said Friday. “We’ve got to get back to working together on a regional basis.”

The meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee begins at 6 p.m. at Joe’s Pizza and Pasta Palace on U.S. Route 58 Business near the International Paper Co. It will be the first time the committee has met since IP closed the paper mill.

Bradshaw said one issue high on the agenda is possible cooperation on wastewater treatment.

“We need to decide if we want to form a regional sewage treatment authority, similar to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District,” Bradshaw said, adding that if Franklin converted its sewer system to a pump station it would give southern Isle of Wight additional sewer capacity and the ability to add service to more areas.

He also said Southampton County “wouldn’t have the entire financial burden (for the new Courtland Wastewater Treatment System) on them. The three localities could share the burden. It would be a financial plus for Southampton.”

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson also said the new treatment plant would be an item for discussion.

“Utilities are one of the things they wanted to talk about,” Johnson said. “We’re going to be giving an overview on where we are with our wastewater treatment plant and the opportunities that there may be for that facility to serve in the future as a regional facility.”

Another issue on the agenda, according to Bradshaw, is economic development. He said collaboration is possible between Franklin, Southampton and Isle of Wight.

“We’ve got an excellent organization set up, but we might want to make some sort of formal agreement between the three localities,” Bradshaw said, pointing out that both Franklin and Southampton this year had to cut funding to Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., which represents both.

Johnson said Supervisors Anita Felts and Ronald West, who represent the Jerusalem and Berlin-Ivor districts, respectively, would represent Southampton at the meeting.

Bradshaw, who represents the Carrsville District in Isle of Wight, said he would be joined at the meeting by Windsor District Supervisor Thomas Wright.

On Friday, Franklin City Manager June Fleming said Mayor Jim Councill and Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson would represent the city.

“You can’t put but so many issues on the table at one time,” Bradshaw said. “We’ve all got lean staffs and we’re all short on funding.”