Whitesburg KY

$1.3 million budget OK’d; Letcher water workers to get 2.3% wage hike

The Letcher County Water and Sewer District has completed the 2015 budget, which has operating expenses of $1,317,938.14 and includes a 2.5 percent across-theboard wage increase for all employees.

The district will soon gain 375 additional customers when paperwork is finished that will allow it to take control of water lines in Cowan in exchange for new sewer lines in Craft’s Colly and Dry Fork that will be turned over to the city of Whitesburg when construction is complete. The exchange marks a win-win situation for both parties, with the county gaining new customers and the City of Whitesburg increasing the amount of wastewater flowing into the wastewater plant, which will help the plant to process waste more efficiently.

District Manager Mark Lewis told the Board of Directors at the May meeting that the paperwork for the exchange should be ready in early June and added that the district may need to hold a special meeting early in the month in order to expedite things. Lewis also reported that the district may be eligible for a Facilities Grant that will pay up to 35 percent on a new piece of equipment that will help district workers be able to do many of their own line repairs rather than hiring contractors.

Lewis told the board that Hazard accountant Chris Gooch and his staff have started on the upcoming audit and added that the master meter that regulates flow between the Knott County Water District and the Letcher District was recently calibrated and found to be over 99 percent accurate. He also reported that the storage area at the old Blackey Water Plant, where the district keeps supplies, now has an eight-camera security system to protect against theft and vandalism.

Bell Engineering representative Steve Caudill told the board that Bell staffers and district workers are assembling data to present to the Kentucky Division of Water to request that the Millstone Sewer Plant be allowed to continue operating and that a closure order be lifted. Caudill said that because of hard work by district workers, the plant is now operating very well. He added that the long term solution for the Millstone sewer customers will most likely be attaching the Millstone lines to lines extended from the Fleming-Neon Sewer Plant after it is rehabilitated. The City of Fleming-Neon is working on obtaining funding to upgrade the city’s water and sewer system and will start with the water system when funding is available. Caudill said it will only require about 7,500 feet of sewer line to make the connection.

Work to extend new lines into Pert Creek, Cram Creek and Pine Creek as part of Phase II of the water project for the area is now complete and American Electric Power has run power lines to the pump station. Startup of the pump station is scheduled for May 27. The Bull Hole water storage tank is complete, although flushing and disinfection of the tank has not been performed. Abandoned Mine Lands (AML), which has funded both phases of the Pert Creek, Pine Creek, Cram Creek Project, has also agreed to three small line extensions in the project area and has approved a change order for the work. Caudill said it will take about two weeks to complete the work and the project will meet the deadline. The board voted unanimously to approve the change order.

Project design in nearly complete for Phase II of the Red Star, Ulvah, Hallie, and Turkey Creek Project and will be submitted to the Division of Water (DOW) when it is finished. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reviewed the alignment plan for another interconnect between the district and the Knott County Water District. The encroachment permit to allow work on the right of way has been approved and the project has been submitted to the Division of Water for approval. When the district receives approval, it will begin to work with AML to obtain authorization to proceed with bidding the work. Caudill said the DOW has agreed to work with AML to speed the authorization up.

AML has started collecting water samples in the Millstone Phase II Water Project area and in the Gordon/510 Project area to determine eligibility for AML funding. AML is reviewing the data and preliminary analysis indicates that 150 potential customers would be served by the Gordon/510 Project. An application has also been submitted to AML to determine if side roads in Cowan are eligible for funding. All sampling and interviews have been completed.

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