Whitesburg KY

City water customers will get bill reductions

Whitesburg residents who were unable to use city water during last month’s non-consumption water advisory from the Kentucky Division of Water will receive a 50 percent reduction in rates to cover the period they were unable to use city water for anything except flushing commodes.

Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft offered the suggestion at the March meeting of the Whitesburg City Council. The council voted unanimously to approve Craft’s suggestion.

Craft told the council that citizens were unable to use their water for about two weeks and that it would be unfair to charge them for water they could not use.

Customers will have to bring their water bills to City Hall in to have them adjusted.

In other water related matters, Craft asked Veolia workers to be ready to start work on a project to increase water pressure in the Fields Cliff neighborhood by mid- March and asked them why no progress had been made on another city-approved project to increase water pressure on Tunnel Hill and the upper reaches of Solomon Branch. Craft said funding is in place for both projects and that he expects to see work begin soon.

Todd Adams of Veolia told Craft they are waiting on a pumping station for the Tunnel Hill project to arrive before starting work there, but said everything is ready for the anticipated start date on Fields Cliff. Craft said he hopes the work will be completed by the end of spring because streets in the Fields Cliff neighborhood are scheduled for resurfacing this summer.

Craft also asked why a software program to allow city and Veolia workers to download results from reading water meters directly into the city’s computer system is not on-line. Adams said the Letcher County Water and Sewer District uses the program, but that Veolia and city workers have not been trained.

Council member Perry Fowler asked the council to authorize Craft to issue an order requiring the water department to begin using the program, called Water Solutions, by May 1. The council voted unanimously in favor of Fowler’s suggestion.

In other business at the council’s March meeting, Craft invited the public and all council members to a groundbreaking ceremony on March 23 for the pedestrian bridge which will span the North Fork of the Kentucky River from the free city parking lot to Broadway Street behind Main Street. The bridge is expected to be finished before July 1.

In his report to the council, Craft also thanked Letcher County writer Sam Adams for his work on two grant applications to allow the city to participate in separate programs for revitalizing the downtown area in a historic theme. Craft said Adams had gone well beyond the call of duty in handcarrying the applications to the appropriate agencies.

In other city business:

• Councilman Fowler reported what he called substantial damage to Solomon Road from gas company drilling equipment. Fowler said it appears that a steel-tracked bulldozer was trammed on the road and the road was destroyed as a result.

“They did it again the other day,” said Fowler. “It looks like it was a steel-tracked dozer and it did considerable damage. The road is in bad need of repair. A town our size can’t get an order against a gas company but a citizen can. If the police department gets a call I suggest they respond.”

• The council unanimously voted to approve a resolution allowing for participation in a Department of Homeland Security grant to purchase new body armor for the Whitesburg Police Department.

• Kevin Howard of Summit Engineering reported that demolition of the old sewage treatment plant is complete and said that as soon as the security fence is in place at the new wastewater treatment plant, a keyless entry system will be installed. Howard also expressed his frustration with the slow pace of Kentucky Power Company’s work to hook up service drops to allow the new Whitco lines to begin pumping sewage to the plant.

“Working with AEP is like working with Russia,” Howard said of American Electric Power, Kentucky Power’s parent firm. “They’re another little country and they’ll do it when they get around to it .”

• Mayor Craft proclaimed April as Clean-up Month and said PRIDE will provide vests, t-shirts, and garbage bags for volunteers to clean up in the city and along river banks. “Let’s get the city cleaned up and do a lot of wonderful things this summer,” said Craft. “As Ben Gish said, ‘we want Whitesburg to beadestin ation,notas topover.'”

• The council voted unanimously to change Riverside Drive in the Upper Bottom from a one way street to a two way street.

• Mayor Craft also asked the Police Department to begin to patrol on the street behind Parkway Plaza to remind motorists that it is also a one way street. He said if the situation persists after warnings are issued, citations may follow.

• Council member John Williams announced that the Letcher County Food Pantry would like to relocate from its present location on Madison Street to a more suitable site with room to unload trucks without blocking part of the road and into a more structurally sound building. He asked that anyone with knowledge of a site contact City Hall.

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