Commission tackles city’s future

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Plans for Levy County water authority dashed

By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

A recent letter by City of Chiefland to Levy County officials expressing interest in forming a countywide water authority has found its way to the proverbial trash bin, according to city commissioners.

“They did not respond to my letter,” said Chiefland Mayor Teal Pomeroy.

“Levy County having its own GUA (government utility authority) is not going to work.”

Though Pomeroy declined to answer why the proposed water authority would not work, or from whom he had learned the information, he did express his concerns over the possibility of the county joining the one already in existence—the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority.

“If Levy County joins the GUA, that will be a vote for transplanting water out of Levy County,” Pomeroy said.

Pomeroy also stated some Levy County commissioners claim joining the Nature Coast authority will be good for area agriculture.

“This is good for agriculture in Dixie County and Gilchrist County,” he said.  “They want the water because it's some of the finest water in the state … no cost as far as treatment.”

City Attorney Norm Fugate, after the meeting, said it’s still a little too early in the game to say it’s not in Chiefland’s best interest to join the Nature Coast authority.

“It was proposed to have strength in numbers,” he said.  “ A pump in Dixie may draw our water anyways.”

Fugate said the plan is still in the conceptual stage, but added that Chiefland may also benefit from joining the Nature Coast group in terms of wastewater services.

Fugate, who also serves as attorney for Inglis and Williston, said Chiefland is “way ahead of the curve on this one.”  

“Other cities are just now getting educated on this.”

The Nature Coast authority started with discussions between Chiefland, Trenton and Fanning Springs on providing water service from Chiefland's new well on 33 acres at Drummond Field at Northwest 140th Street and Northwest 55th Avenue in 2008.

Trenton pulled out of the discussions. Chiefland later pulled out after Pomeroy objected to the formation of a government utility authority, rather than an arrangement where Chiefland was a water wholesaler to the other cities.

Trenton and Fanning Springs began discussions anew with Bell and Cross City as well as Gilchrist and Dixie counties and earlier this year incorporated the NCRWA. The new group has asked the Suwannee River Water Management District for a lease on the remaining 122 acres at the Drummond Field site to drill a water well to supply the authority.

Levy County has been invited to join NCRWA, but it has put off making a decision for now, and the invitation to Chiefland is still open.