It appears we have a project!

Because of an insufficient number of protests, the board of directors was able to declare the protests insufficient, disqualify one objection read at the hearing about the extent of the district and ordered the 2001 Camp Verde Sanitary District Plant and Collection Line Project to proceed.

This is one more step forward for the current board of directors, who under Burnside's leadership have fought hard to propel the project onward. The expansion project has been in the planning stages for several years. A majority of protests could have halted the process altogether.

The 36 protests received by the district prior to the Dec. 3 hearing represented 40 parcels of the 452 contained within the district. The 36 filed protests represent only 8.8 percent of the parcels contained within the district, according to district officials, not enough to discontinue the project.

There are just a few reasons the project could be stopped at this point — a reversal by the board of directors to halt the work or the failure to acquire all land and rights of way needed for the project.

District officials continue to negotiate with U.S. Forest Service officials for the plant site land and are working with one major property owner on a critically needed right-of-way.

About 16 people appeared at Monday evening's hearing, but only a few voiced concerns. Just one complaint, filed by Ann Schaeffer, contained an objection to the extent of the assessment district, the reason the hearing was called. All 36 protestors were invited by the board to voice any last-minute complaints or concerns.

Schaeffer objected to the expense involved with extending the pipelines to the other side of Interstate 17. As she read her complaint, she suggested the board not include that segment allowing future development west of I-17 to "offset the costs of extending the sewer at a later date." One audience member and protestor told the board that after the actual assessment costs were released, most property owners with those types of concerns found them "fair" and evenly distributed. Burnside told the audience members that she expects a January protest period for assessment cost matters.

When completed the new sewer lines will benefit commercial business owners around the Interstate 17-Arizona 260 interchange, residents in Fort River Caves and Reddell Ranch Acres and other raw land parcel owners.

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