Irmo ponders taking over Blue Granite services

By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council is considering having the town take over the Blue Granite Water Co. services but there was a lot of uncertainty during a work session Tuesday.

Fueling such a move is the widespread dissatisfaction among Irmo residents with Blue Granite water and sewer services and their costs.

“The system is a disaster,” said Councilman Erick Sickinger.

 If the town took over the operations, some council member say service fees could be reduced through negotiations with the city of Columbia.

But Councilwoman Kathy Condom said such a huge undertaking could come with dire consequences that could “bankrupt” the town. She questions the town’s ability to operate the system.

The council is considering a feasibility study that would provide all of the pros and cons of such an undertaking. That study could cost around $35,000.

“Until we do a study, we are not going to know,” said Councilman Kelly Busch.

While the council did not unanimously express support for the feasibility study, it will remain on the table for consideration.

“We’ve got the door open,” said Mayor Barry Walker Sr.

The town would have to pay out a large sum of money to Blue Granite to take over the system. That cost is not known at this time.

During the work session the council also discussed ongoing plans for a community garden and dog park to be located on a nine-acre tract in the Friarsgate area.

A community group of ladies has already organized a plan for the garden, and even received some contributions.

The project could bring some costs to the town because of the need for a water system in the area, but council members voiced strong support for the project.

The council also discussed plans for a walking trail on a six-acre tract of land near the Irmo Wellness Center that has been donated to the town.