2007-12-12 / News

Court votes to upgrade water plant, OK gas well

By WILLIAM FARLEY

The Letcher County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to allow the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to use slightly over $10,000 which was left over from the Dry Fork Water Project to make maintenance improvements at the Blackey Water Plant. Water and Sewer District Director Greg Pridemore made the request at a special called meeting of the fiscal court on Thursday and told the court that its acquisition of the Blackey Plant is now complete and has been approved by the Public Service Commission.

"It's 100 percent ours now," said Pridemore. "For better or worse."

In response to a question from Fifth District Magistrate Wayne Fleming about the possibility of obtaining funding to upgrade the plant, Pridemore said he is looking at several options. He said both Kentucky Rural Water and the Kentucky Department of Water have visited the plant and are looking at ways to increase the plant's efficiency. Pridemore said the plant should be refinanced if possible and the capacity should be doubled along with a maintenance upgrade. He said the problem with upgrading the plant is that funders are more interested in the future connection between Carr Creek Lake and the Letcher County Water District than in funding upgrades to the Blackey Plant.

Fleming also asked if it is possible to get the chemical and labor costs down for the plant. Pridemore said the small size of the plant makes that difficult. He said the plant was designed to serve the city of Blackey and surrounding area and the capacity needs to be expanded in order to provide treated water for a larger area of Letcher County. Pridemore said new state and federal water treatment regulations make it more expensive as well.

The court also accepted an offer from Equitable Resources to pay the county $35,000 to locate a gas well near the site of the old landfill at Millstone. Maurice Royster of Equitable made the offer and assured the court that if for any reason the aboveground pipeline to the well should need to be moved it will be done at no expense to the county. Third District Magistrate Codell Gibson also wanted to make certain the citizens of Letcher County know the county only owns the surface rights and does not own the mineral rights to the gas that is produced by the well.

Magistrate Fleming made a plea to members of the court and others at the meeting to take part in the Christmas Tree of Hope project at the Social Service offices on the Old Jenkins Road. Fleming said that without the generosity of the people of the county, some children won't be able to have any Christmas at all.

"I'd like to see everyone get a name so every kid will have a Christmas," said Fleming. "Some kids won't have any Christmas."

The court also accepted bids for Christmas baskets for county employees. The winning bid came from Dry Fork Market for $33 per basket. The only other bid came from Food City for $35 per basket. Magistrate Fleming moved to award the bid to Dry Fork Market and the vote was unanimous.

Judge/Executive Jim Ward also used the occasion to congratulate the Letcher County Senior Citizens and Director Trenda Kincer. Ward said the center at Ermine was selected as best center in the eightcounty area to which Letcher County belongs. Kincer thanked the court for all it has done for senior citizens and introduced Ermine Center Director Deborah Slone. The court also voted to award $1,000 each to the Jenkins High School Marching Band and the Letcher County Central Marching Band to attend the Governor's inauguration yesterday (Tuesday). The money will come out of Litter Abatement Funds and band members will pick up trash to offset the expense. The bands will join together to represent the county in the inaugural parade.

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