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Rusk County rural area set for water service

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
March 20, 2012 at 10 p.m.

HENDERSON - Residents of the Church Hill area drew one step closer Tuesday to having water service when the Rusk County Commissioners Court approved several motions that will allow County Judge Joel Hale to enter into contracts on behalf of the Church Hill Water Service Company.

About 65 households in the unincorporated area, which is in the northeastern portion of Rusk County, rely on well water for their residential water needs. The well water varies in quality and quantity.

"It's hard to believe that, in 21st century America, there are still some people who don't have access to a clean, dependable water supply," said Pct. 2 Commissioner Mike Pepper. "It's taken a long time to get this going, and we're not done yet, but we're definitely moving slowly in the right direction."

It will probably be late summer or early fall before the installation of water pipes actually begins, Pepper said.

Tuesday's actions allow Hale to enter into a $33,000 contract with Amazing Grants for grant management services and another $49,000 contract with Hayes Engineering for project engineering.

All the fees are being paid for with money from the Texas Community Development Block Grant rather than county funds.

The county has been trying to get water service to the Church Hill area for about 25 years and has been actively pursuing grants to make it possible for about four years, Pepper said.

In other business, the court also approved a request from County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle to contract with Certified Payments for the acceptance of credit card payments in the county clerk's office.

The contract will allow the clerk's office to accept credit card payments online, over the phone or in person, Lewis-Kugle said. There will be a $1 surcharge for fees less than $100 and a 2.8 percent surcharge for those more than $100.

"This company offered the lowest fee I could find," Lewis-Kugle said. "Of course, people can still pay by other methods, but this will allow them the convenience of using a credit card if that's what they prefer."

The county clerk's office will begin accepting Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express in April, she said.



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