Orange County's elected leaders agreed to form a work group next month to figure out how to expand sewer service on Rogers Road, the historically black neighborhood next to the Orange County landfill on Eubanks Road.
Neighborhood leader The Rev. Robert Campbell spoke to the Assembly of Governments Thursday night. The assembly is a periodic gathering of elected officials from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Orange County and Hillsborough.
"For 37 years we have borne the burden of your trash," Campbell said. He demanded the group develop a timeline for funding the entire cost of water and sewer connections to those homes without them as compensation for living with the noise, dust and smell of the nearby garbage dump.
In truth, elected leaders were already heading in that direction.The town of Chapel Hill's recently completed Rogers Road Task Force report recommended an intergovernmental group be formed to come up with a funding plan.
Still, Town Council member Mark Kleinschmidt, who served on the task force, said afterward that Campbell knows not to take anything for granted.
"I think over 30 years he's learned you don't ever stop stoking the fire," Kleinschmidt said. "I respect him for doing that. I think they need to do that."
Most of the Rogers Road area is served with water from the Orange Water and Sewer Authority. Extending sewer to the east side of the road (the west has been annexed by Carrboro) would cost an estimated $1.3 million to nearly $4.2 million.
That doesn't count individual connection costs, which the report says homeowners would have difficulty paying.