Iredell Free News recently reported that the Statesville City Council “waded through eight separate public hearings for residential and industrial projects that city officials believe signal a new era of growth.”

Rapid urbanization and industrial growth are coming to our area and with it so are many challenges. This will affect our infrastructure (water, sewer, and electric systems) and in return can affect our pocketbooks in the form of water, sewer, and electric rates.

As someone who built and operated a large part of Statesville’s infrastructure system while director of Water Resources from 1986 to 2017, I know that one of the most urgent challenges is proper utilization of our existing infrastructure resources. Because most, but not all, industrial clients make a good fit for our wastewater and water systems, it is important we choose carefully how we use our infrastructure in order to keep costs and maintenance down and understand how this growth will impact our local environment.

In developed economies and infrastructure systems such as Statesville, it can be easy to take infrastructure for granted —it’s always been there and it always will be —- but that is not necessarily so as much of our water and sewer lines were built in the 1940s through the 1960s. I am aware of these “aged” parts of our system and would like the opportunity to see that our infrastructure is not ignored or forgotten in the glow of new housing and industrial growth.

It will take the “old” pipes and pumps to maintain and support the new additions to our systems. We all want water to keep coming out of our faucets.

I recently enjoyed a meeting with City Manager Ron Smith and, among other things, we discussed infrastructure needs and my concerns as to future water and sewer utilization and capacity allotments. I am pleased to know that Statesville has received $20 million from the state to replace/update our water main connection to the town of Troutman — thank you Sen. Vickie Sawyer and Rep. Jeff McNeely. This line was constructed decades ago. I would like to bring my expertise to the table in the design and replacement of this aged water transmission main.

The coming election of city council seats will be important as we ride this new wave of growth. Let’s not squander it but meet it in a professional and economical manner that will benefit all the citizens of Statesville. As a candidate for the council seat in Ward 5, I hope to be your voice in this most important time of growth for our city.

Joe Hudson is a candidate for Statesville City Council.

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