Dear Editor: In reference to your article on Feb. 3 "Bear Creek Reservoir Back On Track," it would be very interesting to question Scott Cole as to how the deal with Jasper County fell through for "political reasons." Jasper County citizens were not enthusiastic about the "deal" because we, Jasper citizens, were to help pay for 25 percent of a reservoir (Bear Creek) that didn't exist and wasn't permitted, starting in 2004. At that time Jasper was to pay 25 percent of all the cost that Newton County SAID they had incurred, including land acquisition, over the past several years. Jasper County had no say so in what was to happen, how it would proceed or what the cost would be; the taxpayers of Jasper County were supposed to cough up 25 percent of any bill Newton County presented. The taxpayers were against this plan and voted out all the commissioners that had entertained the idea of the "partnership".
The citizens of Newton County should examine this deal closely. Bear Creek Reservoir will not cost tens of millions of dollars. Bear Creek Reservoir will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Hard Labor Creek Reservoir - a new proposed reservoir in Walton County - is estimated to cost $355 million to produce 40mgd. Bear Creek Reservoir will only become full by running a pipeline into the Alcovy River and pumping water night and day - reducing the flow of the river by more than half. The water in the reservoir will then have to be piped 10 miles to the filtration plant at Cornish Creek Reservoir (Lake Varner) in order to be used for drinking water.
Every citizen in Newton County has a right and should request a public hearing to find out the details about Bear Creek Reservoir. The public needs to know what this project has already cost, what it is going to cost and what it entails. The public has been left out of the process; it seems that only the Newton County Attorney and Board of Commissioners are "in the know."