Utility may be reimbursed by Georgetown

Santee Electric Cooperative is expected to get about $178,000 from Georgetown for property the city annexed in 2008.

Under the state law, the electric company is allowed to recoup the cost of property and facilities annexed by a municipality.

The city and the electric company were unable to reach an agreement on the amount of compensation, and the matter was sent to arbiter Fred Parsons, who made a decision April 6.

The city will meet tonight during executive session to decide what to do next. The City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown City Hall.

There is no deadline on when the money must be paid. The $178,084 will likely come from the Georgetown Electric Department's reserve fund, said Director Alan Loveless, with the city's electric department.

"We knew all along we were going to have to compensate them," Loveless said. "The matter to be determined was what was fair compensation?"

In 2008, the city annexed Santee Electric Cooperative property and facilities on South Island Drive and Winyah Bay Golf Course.

Santee Electric Cooperative originally asked for $373,000, Loveless said.

Santee Electric Cooperative's President and Chief Executive Officer Floyd Keels said in a statement he was pleased with the order and thought it was fair.

"This order upholds the co-op's position that when a city annexes an electric cooperative's territory, the cooperative should be entitled to be justly compensated for its facilities in the annexed portions of the city and entitled to compensation to rebuild those facilities with like facilities outside the annexed area that remain cooperative service territory," Keels said. "We have won the right to serve existing and future cooperative customers and are very happy about that."

The City Council is also expected to discuss a consent order agreement with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control in executive session. DHEC is set to fine Georgetown about $5,775 for allowing enterococcus bacteria to be discharged into the Sampit River.

It is possible the contamination is coming from the retention ponds, where the water is picking up animal waste, according to the city.