On Monday, March 13th, the Beattyville City Council met in regular session, with one council member absent (Glenna Cummins).
Paul Nesbitt was first to speak and presented the table with a report on various projects taking place, stating the following:
Ky 11 Utility Relocation Project: 1st portion is completed. Next phase is ongoing and 100% funded by KY-DOT. Nesbitt stated the contractor was moving “fairly slow” but all utility/water lines have been relocated and moved away from the road and once the road work is completed, the lines will have to be moved back towards the road.
Water Treatment Plant Phase 1: Cleaner water program funds will be utilized for this project. Nesbitt is currently waiting on the assistant agreement to be executed in Frankfort. once approved, the city can begin work at the plant. Project funds available for this project; $271,833.
Water system improvements- State funds and ARC/KIA will be utilized for this $6 million project. Plant improvements, pump stations and water lines are all included. Nesbitt is currently working on preliminary engineering for this project. The city will eventually lay a water line out on 11 and help supplement water to Slade area. Paul stated that the system currently at the end of Highway 11 has low pressure and this will improve the pressure. He also stated this will allow Beattyville to pick up additional customers along highway 11 and a tremendous amount of customers in Slade.
Water Tank Rehab Project: Three tanks will be rehabbed, the Granny Couch tank, Heidelburg tank and Coal Branch tank. $724,604 has been committed towards this project. Additional funds are currently being secured as the total projected cost is $1.5 million.
Rock of Ages Water Tank Rehab: $163,148 of ARPA funds have been committed to this project. Lowest bid received: $78,450.
(Project Report provided by City Hall)
The council then took a moment to look over the 2022 audit for the city. No comments or discussion was made in regards to the audit from any council members. A copy of the audit can be requested at City Hall 606.464.5007.
The item of raising the water rates was discussed and pushed off at last month’s (February) meeting and tabled for March. Mayor Scott Jackson stated the raise will be due to the rising cost of chemicals and materials needed, along with making payroll for the plant/city employees. The council chose the options to raise the rates either 20%, 25% or 30%. City employee Matt Wise presented the council with a difference of material prices from prior to the flood (2021) compared to now.
Wise stated that the costs totaled showed a $500k increase since then. Mitch Cornelius; Councilman, asked if the city was doing “all they could possibly do” in regards to leaks and unpaid water. Mayor Jackson stated that yes, they were doing everything they could possibly do. According to the city, there have been only three increases since 2004 on water and two increases on sewer. However, this does not include a CPI increase that was agreed on approximately eight years ago. This is an increase that automatically happens each year in April, based on CPI (Consumer Price Index) and usually totals anywhere from 1.5 to 2% once a year and applies to both water and sewage. The CPI has increased to 7% according to the city due to inflation. Because the council approved the rate increase, the CPI will not be applied this year. The council approved the 25% increase, four members in attendance voted in favor, with councilwoman Charlotte Hogan opposed. This increase will go into effect starting with April’s billing cycle.
During the time of meeting the county was still on a boil water advisory due to the recent storms. The samples were currently in Frankfort and the city was still waiting on the call to lift the advisory. The advisory was lifted on the following Tuesday morning.
Before closing of the meeting the idea of moving the park (located behind former police station) was brought up due to flooding issues in it’s current location. No decisions however, were made on the matter.
Another topic mentioned, was decisions for the future of the former police station/old City Hall building. The City Police are now completely moved into the back of City Hall and the former building is now vacant. The building is listed on the historical registry and the council will need further information on what can or can’t be done with the property considering it’s poor condition. The council stated that decisions would need to be made soon, as worries of vandalism and other crime/destruction may heighten with the police presence no longer there.
This also tied in with the consideration of the relocation of the park located behind the building, as the council considered what similar issues would be taking place at the park without the station being as close as it once was.
Questions can be answered by contacting City Hall. City Council meetings are held each month and are open for public attendance.
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