Residents of Campania are bring given the opportunity to taste what Harlem has on tap.
Thirty residents of Campania attended a Harlem town hall meeting at Harlem Middle School on Thursday. They were told that for a reduced fee of $600, the neighboring community could tap into Harlem's water supply.
The reduced rate is good until the first of the year because that is when the contractors who are finishing up a 10-inch water main that surrounds Harlem are scheduled to leave. If residents decide to join later, they will have to pay the normal rate of $805.
Mayor John Bentley said the fee could be broken down into 12 monthly payments.
''Our goal is to work with you as much as possible," he said.
Of the 30 people in attendance, nine signed up for the service after the meeting and three more signed up the next day. More signatures are expected.
''We are anticipating 60 to 70 people to sign up," Bentley said.
Many residents expressed interest in paying the reduced fee now without having immediate service. Harlem Public Works Superintendent Jim Raley said people often choose to pay now and use later.
''That way they can take advantage of the savings and have the water services connected when they're ready," he said.
Campania resident Roy Elrod recently put in a $5,000 well that more than meets his needs, but he decided to pay the tap-in fee just to be safe.
''I'm going to do it so that my children can use it if they want," Elrod said.
Once they are ready to begin service, residents will be responsible for running the water from boxes placed alongside the road to their homes. Raley said that staying off of private property limits disputes.
Bentley said he is hoping the end result of extending water service will be annexation. Some residents did not respond favorably to being brought into Harlem city limits, though.
''There is too many petty politics in Harlem," said Charles Wallace. ''Even the county has petty politics, but I can live with those."
The city council assured attendees that annexation was at least 10 years down the road. Before reaching Campania, Bentley said, Harlem would have to meet a general requirement.
''As long as we have 60 percent of the population who have 60 percent of the land mass, we can force annex the other people," Bentley said. ''So they can't block us."
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