Town takes over water service at industrial park

The Town of Batesburg-Leesville now has oversight of the water utility service provided to Fisher Tank and any future investors in the Industrial Park. (Staff photo by Tony Baughman)

Batesburg-Leesville is spending $1 to take total charge of utility service that the Town helped extend to an industrial area for $1.8 million a few years ago.

Lexington County Council agreed last week to turn over water and sewer lines and related equipment to Town Hall. The decision gives town officials ownership of service in the 189-acre area off U.S 1 on the east edge of the community.

The area is home to an industrial basin manufacturer, with an asphalt plant slated to open there by fall.

Utility service was installed in a partnership between County and Town leaders. Town Hall’s portion is being paid off through hook-up fees and usage revenue from firms located there.

The move assures Town Hall permanent control of water and sewer service, replacing a previous arrangement that required agreement from county officials for changes. “This formalizes what both sides had agreed to,” Town Manager Ted Luckadoo said.

The transfer is similar to what’s been done with other communities that supply utility service to county-run sites developed to attract industry that brings in jobs, County Economic Development Director Sarah Johnson said.

None of the county’s 1,800 employees have expertise in operation of water and sewer service. There is no immediate impact on utility bills at the site from the change.

Meanwhile, the site has lost a potential newcomer, as 12 of 14 sites remain available in the 20-year-old area.

G2 Machining, manufacturer of specialty bearings for boats and other uses, will settle nearby but not in the area. It is moving to the community from Michigan.

The company decided it would be better to convert a building for its operation instead of putting up a new one, owner Greg Watson said. “We ended up saving money and got quite a lot more space,” he said.

Town leaders are content with the switch.

“We would have loved to have them go there, but we still consider this a win,” Mr. Luckadoo said.