Whitesburg KY
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Mostly clear

Neon will share county’s water supply for period

Letcher County Water and Sewer District Manager Mark Lewis told the district’s board of directors that the Fleming-Neon Water District is having source problems with its water supply and will be drawing water from the county’s Deane Water tank. He added that a number of county water lines were exposed in the recent heavy rains and said that work crews are in the process of covering them up.

Meanwhile, the directors approved a balanced budget for 2016 in the amount of $1,253,305.14 at its November meeting. The district currently serves 2,852 homes in Letcher County and that number will continue to grow as new lines are extended. Board Chairman Bernard Watts asked the board to approve a Christmas incentive of $500 each for district workers at the meeting as well. Watts praised the district employees’ dedication and said they are on call 24 hours a day. The board voted unanimously to approve the incentives.

In other business, District Manager Mark Lewis told the board that the most recent bill for water purchased from the Knott County Water District, through the Knott County Interconnect, was “sky high.” Lewis said he questions the numbers but also said there have been a lot of problems with leaks recently. He added that Kentucky Rural Water will be here next month to help locate the source of the problem.

Alan Bowman of Bell Engineering reported that bids were opened on November 17 for a second Knott County Interconnect line. Jones Construction LLC of Lackey, submitted the low bid of $354,089.60. Bell submitted a recommendation to accept and the board voted unanimously to accept Jones’s bid. Bowman said that it will probably be sometime in January before construction begins.

Plans and specifications for the Cumberland River Water Project, based on connecting new lines in the Flat Gap area to lines extending out of Wise County, Va., were submitted to the Kentucky Division of Water, and Flood Plain Permits, a Kentucky Transportation Encroachment Permit, and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit, which allows for dredged or fill materials to be discharged into navigable waters, have been prepared and presented to the respective authorizing agencies.

A meeting was held November 5 to discuss ways to fund the project. Representatives of U.S. Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers’s office were in attendance as well as representatives from the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Division, Kentucky River Area Development District, and Bell Engineering. A second meeting will be held soon with the Wise County Public Service Authority to obtain a better wholesale purchase rate for water from the Wise County District. Bowman said he hopes the Wise County District will accept a reasonable offer in a face-to-face meeting.

Meetings have also been held with Abandoned Mine Lands to discuss funding proposals that were submitted for the second phase of line extensions in Redstar, Hallie, and Turkey Creek, and in the Bull and Elk Creek area. AML recommended splitting projects in both areas into more than one phase and funding requests for Phase IIA in Red Star, Hallie and Turkey Creek and Phase I South for the second portion of the Bull and Elk Creek Project have been submitted. Bell Engineering is currently awaiting a reply from AML.

AML studies are still pending on funding applications for Phase II of the Millstone Water project, the Gordon/Highway 510 Project, and the Big Cowan Side Roads/Kingscreek Project. Funding is still being sought for a line interconnect with the Hazard Water District and for extending lines into Loggy Hollow. No changes have been made in the Millstone Sewer Project.

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