It was the second joint meeting between the Powdersville Planning Group and its advisory board at the Powdersville Library. Unlike the first meeting, the meeting room was packed and most in attendance seemed eager to put a stop to the whole plan.
Members of the original Powdersville Planning Group said their goal was to seek ways to improve S.C. 153 and prepare it for the future, but many residents said they believed it had more to do with government control.
Powdersville Water District General Manager Dyke Spencer, the original proponent of the plan to improve 153, started by leading the meeting Friday and had an agenda prepared.
But Powdersville resident Leroy Walls motioned that Cooper be elected chairman of the advisory group, and the motion passed quickly.
Cooper didn’t hesitate to take control of the meeting, although Spencer remained standing the whole time.
Cooper said that during last month’s meeting, the citizens had been told they would be in charge. Cooper said everyone he talked to was concerned about the Powdersville Planning Group’s agenda, and that many worried that it would strip them of their property rights.
“That first meeting that we had at Wren, the whole issue was to control growth,” Cooper said.
Cooper also criticized the water district for having spent money on the original design process.
“What does this have to do with the water company?” he said.
Spencer answered that the water district has a capital improvement budget every year to help prepare for growth, and that since 153 is going to continue to be a high-growth area, the water district will have to continue to provide water for that area.
“It’s a whole lot easier to plan to put water lines in the right place, because otherwise we’re going to be putting water lines everywhere, and that’s a whole lot more expensive,” Spencer said.
Cooper retorted that “it doesn’t take rocket science” to know 153 is growing.
“This whole thing didn’t start about that. … This wasn’t nothing about what was going to come. This was about: we want to control growth. That’s not your job to control growth.”
Spencer answered, “It wasn’t about controlling growth. It was about planning for growth.”
Cooper said Spencer had gone beyond his bounds as water district general manager.
“Your charter is to furnish potable water,” Cooper said. “It’s not to control growth, and worry about affordable housing and transportation. That has nothing to do with the water company.”
Powdersville resident Jim Wilson said there are already government agencies in place to provide for transportation funding.
“All we need is one more bureaucratic government operation to keep our eyes on,” said Wilson. “I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t afford any more help.” read on