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WATER WORKS // Homeowners feel impact of water projects

Bruce and Barbara Millner

Ages: 64 and 65

Occupation: retired _ He is a former machinist and she is a former switchboard operator.

Home location: Inverness Highlands

The Millners' home draws its water from a well and is hooked to a septic tank.

Their in-ground pool, which gurgles in a lanai behind the house, gets most of its water from falling rainwater.

From their perspective, none of this needs to change. The Millners like their drinking water, and the septic system works just fine.

If voters approve the 1-cent sales tax increase, the County Commission plans to use part of the money to bring regional water lines to the Millners' area sometime between 2005 and 2012.

Bruce Millner says he doubts the county will follow through with the plan _ or, for that matter, that the tax will expire as required after 15 years.

"They'll find a way of extending it," he says.

If water lines do come to the area, Barbara Millner isn't thrilled about having to pay the hookup fees, estimated now at $895, plus the cost of running the water line to their house, about $100 or more. The couple would also begin paying regular water bills.

The couple could leave their well installed and use it solely for lawn irrigation. County officials say the law requires homeowners to hook up to a water line if it passes their home.

"Why would they want to go to all that expense if people have wells now?" she says.