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IN OUR OPINION
Aug 11, 2004 12:00 am
The rural housing boom is upon Wilson County, and leaders in county government have not grasped the importance of the technology enabling the deluge: STEP sewer systems.
A self-contained sewer system capable of servicing small cities and large, sprawling subdivisions, the underground, pseudo-septic tank STEP sewers are tied to major housing developments across Wilson County.
In rural areas from east of Lebanon to west of Mt. Juliet in the Gladeville area, STEP sewer in the coming years will be responsible for enabling a rush of thousands of new homes and likely new citizens across Wilson County.
Other than approving their building and related subdivisions, county planning bodies and the Wilson County Commission have done little to prepare for the needs STEP systems will create.
The issue of STEP systems transcends the traditional arguments about making growth pay for growth in county government, arguments that have largely focused on the need to build schools in booming population centers.
Residential growth tied to STEP systems happens exclusively in rural areas as cities have their own sewers and STEPS are not allowed as alternatives.
STEP systems will force even more basic infrastructure problems than a need for schools, they force a need for roads. It is the tip of the STEP iceberg, but the logical place to begin asking the questions how to pay for STEP system generated residential growth.
Previously rural roads will become major thoroughfares. Roads once traveled by a handful will soon be traversed by hundreds of cars a day. And those roads will not measure up.
Wilson County Road Superintendent Steve Armistead has shown the only real leadership in county government when it comes to STEP systems, beginning with simply asking the question about how to charge STEP related developments for the unique demands they will place on rural areas.
The dialogue needs to begin there, and other county leaders need to recognize STEP sewers as the infrastructure phenomenon they are and act accordingly. Business should be allowed to flourish, but taxpayers do not need to be unduly burdened because county government came to the table on STEP sewers too late in the game.