Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Another quick meeting of the Edmonson County Fiscal Court was held today, Monday, November 13, 2023 at the Edmonson County Courthouse. An update of current Edmonson County Water District projects was among some of the brief discussions held at today's meeting.
Edmonson Water General Manager Tony Sanders addressed the court today to bring magistrates up to speed on the current projects with the district, including the ARPA allocated project and the continuing issues with Green River water levels that are major concerns to the district.
In April of 2022, magistrates with the former fiscal court administration voted to allocate $650,000 of the county's $2.3M in ARPA funding for a water district project that focuses on a $1.1M job that would improve multiple pump stations, new service to E Hack Road, and improvements on Luttrell Cemetery Road, Segal Road, Carl Ashley Road, and HWY 70.
"We are now in the process of the design," Sanders said. "We expect to have plans ready in March or the first of April to submit to the division of water. Once we get approval back, we're thinking we can probably do our advertising and hopefully go to bids sometime in the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter."
Sanders said he hoped to have a finished contract by the end of 2024. He said that former Judge /Executive Wil Cannon approached him a couple years ago when the ARPA funding first came to the county and asked Sanders how the water district could use some of the funding. Early on, restrictions on how funds could be spent were focused for infrastructure, only; however, the restrictions for the funding became much looser as time went on.
With additional grants available to the water district from The Cleaner Water Act, projects are moving forward, however, inflation has driven up the prices of labor and material since the first estimates in 2021. Sanders said he was concerned about completing the projects now at the 2021 prices, but only time would tell.
Sanders also updated the court on the current intake situation that has been a major concern of the water district since the federal government passed legislation to remove Lock number 6 and Lock Number 5, which has currently been halted. The changing water levels from the Lock 6 removal have caused major problems for the district's intake system which is expected to fail in it's current state, should the Lock 5 removal continue. It has been temporarily halted due to the emergency it has caused.
"It's a touchy subject," Sanders said. "We had a meeting on October 27th. The new Colonel from the Louisville Division (Corps of Engineers) was here and we talked to her. Of course, we're still looking at a permanent solution--one of the new ideas is to build a new intake structure up close to where the old Lock is. They're looking at a short term solution to where they can take the Locks out. The problem is, with the short term solution, nobody really knows what to do."
Congress allocated funding for the removal of the dam, so if it's not done, Congress will have to decide on something else, which leaves local decision makers helpless. However, both Sanders and Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey said Senator Rand Paul's Office, Senator Mitch McConnell's Office, and the office or Congressman Brett Guthrie have been very resourceful in helping the county with the issues, despite the continuing push to remove the lock/dam.
The Edmonson Voice spoke with representatives from Rep. Brett Guthrie's Office just over a month ago about the pending issue. They informed us that their door was open to helping the water district in anyway they could; however, Sanders said today that neither a short term nor a long term solution is in place yet, other than the hold of the lock removal.
In other discussion, Judge Lindsey reminded the court of the current statewide fall burning restrictions that occur during this time each year. Burning anything 150ft or closer to woodland or brushland is prohibited between the hours of 6AM to 6PM. These restrictions are in effect from October 1st to December 15th each year.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander reported that last week's general election went smoothly throughout the county, in all precincts. He said he was meeting with officials to discuss the upcoming changes to the precinct boundary lines that will take place next year.
Park Director Position: Judge Lindsey said the candidates that have interviewed for the open Edmonson County Parks and Rec Director have been narrowed down to six individuals. The hiring committee will now discuss and make a recommendation for a fiscal court vote.
Sunfish-Round Hill Road Update: Judge Lindsey reported that FEMA has finally allocated $860K for the repair of Sunfish-Round Hill Road, a dangerous unfinished project since the previous fiscal court administration. One man died as he drove off the unfinished portion of the road into the creek. The caveat is that the county will have to determine a way to front the costs of the repair and then be reimbursed for the project; however, most would argue that it's a must for the county.
The court also voted to:
The next Edmonson County Fiscal Court meeting is scheduled for November 27, 2023 at 9AM.