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Carrboro Board of Aldermen discuss Chapel Hill's budgetary concerns for Rogers Road sewer extension project

The Town of Chapel Hill estimates the outreach for the Rogers Road sewer extension project will cost between $30,000 and $50,000 — but the Carrboro Board of Aldermen says they don’t see the need to spend that much.

“I don’t think we need to spend a lot of money to reassess what we already know,” Alderman Sammy Slade said.

The money would be used by the Marian Cheek Jackson Center to provide information to property owners in the Rogers Road neighborhood about the project and to determine how many of them would be interested in connecting to the sewer line, Chapel Hill town manager Roger Stancil said at a Feb. 10 council meeting.

Rogers Road is a historically black, low-income neighborhood that was promised access to water and sewer services and a community center when the county’s landfill was built there in 1972. The landfill closed in June.

At the Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night, Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said the pricetag for the outreach program was unnecessary because members of the Rogers Road community have been expressing their interest for sewer service for over 40 years.

“I’ll identify action steps for $150,” Gist said.

The Rev. Robert Campbell, president of the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, said the community was left out of a summer discussion planning the outreach program.

“All of a sudden we do not have the expertise to do this on our own,” Campbell said.

Mayor Lydia Lavelle said there has been a lack of communication between the three jurisdictions ­— Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County — since the Rogers Road Task Force released its final report in September.

“From the last meeting Chapel Hill had, somehow there is another option that no one has really any sense of because it’s never been described by the manager,” Slade said.

He suggested another meeting between town and county managers to get everyone on the same page.

While the board didn’t approve the outreach program, it did approve the preliminary engineering plan, also authorized by Chapel Hill at its Feb. 10 meeting.The preliminary engineering efforts will cost an estimated $130,000, to be shared by all three jurisdictions.

Alderman Damon Seils said he wants to know the scope of the work, who will manage the project and who will administer the money before the board can approve outreach.

“We’re good with the preliminary engineering,” Seils said. “We’re sort of good with the outreach.”

The Board of Orange County Commissioners will discuss the proposals Thursday.

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