January 25, 2015;
City council wastes no time in addressing water price situation;
Approves proposal that would put the wholesale price approximately 25 cents per 1000 gallon above the cost of producing the water…
Meeting time change ordinance fails second reading, time will stay second Tuesday…
Editor’s Note: The Lazer reporter assigned to the regular city council meeting had a mixup in schedules and missed the meeting. Lazer Editor/Publisher Mark Grayson asked both City Attorney Eldred Adams and mayor Harold Slone for comments on the meeting and asked some questions. Below is Slone’s account of the meeting.
‘…The Louisa City Council met January 20th at 7pm at Louisa City Hall.
The council addressed unfinished business by approving the second reading of two ordinances. One pertaining to financing a Ladder Truck that had been purchased by the previous administration but was unable to approve the financing details before going out of office. Also council approved an ordinance accepting the Water and Sewer Budget for this year which was also passed on from previous administration. Both votes were unanimous (with Council member Lisa Schaeffer not present).
The second reading of an ordinance pertaining to the changing of regular meeting times was from the 2nd Tuesday of each month to the 3rd was abandoned and not voted on due to the fact the County had changed their meeting to the same day as well as other conflicts within the community. REGULAR MEETINGS WILL REMAIN THE 2ND TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT 7PM AT LOUISA CITY HALL.
The final item business was dealing with the proposal of wholesale water rate increases for the Big Sandy Water District, which purchases a considerable amount of water from the Louisa Water Department on an annual basis.
The previous council had requested a rate increase of 15 cents per 1000 gallons of water for a 12 month contract of at least 5 million gallons per month. According to the city attorney Big Sandy had responded to the offer with a refusal to accept but counter offered with a proposed 15% increase for 30 months and no mention of minimum gallon purchase.
Council members debated the proposal and agreed they would accept the price and length of the contract proposed but requested the minimum purchase amount be added as it had always been. Motion was passed unanimous to present this offer to Big Sandy Water, inc.
Several council members voiced concerns about needing to keep Big Sandy as a wholesale customer including second term member Tom Parsons who said he had done his own analysis based on all the numbers and believes continuing the relationship with Big Sandy was crucial to our well being and especially with the current proposal.
The Increase proposed by Big Sandy would put the wholesale price approximately 25 cents per 1000 gallon above the cost of producing the water according to the recent study performed by the Ky Rural Water Association at the City’s request.
Council went into executive session to discuss two different items of potential litigation. Upon returning the city attorney advised the audience that council had instructed him to agree to a settlement with Ky Division of Water and Agreed to move ahead and file a legal insurance claim concerning a accident where damage was caused to city property.
The mayor and council thanked the audience for attending, noticing new faces that was present just to be informed more about their city.
Meeting adjourned with next regular meeting February 10th at 7pm.”
This is Adams’ reply…
‘…Currently we have a wholesale contract with Big Sandy WaterDistrict. I think Big Sandy is either our biggest or one of our biggest wholesale customers and we derive a substantial amount of revenue from them.There has been an ongoing discussion with them about raising their rate since everything goes up.
The Council directed me to propose a 15% rate hike resulting in an increase to $3.05 per thousand gallons for a period of 30 months with a minimum usage of 5 million gallons a month. Any such rate hike would have to be approved by the Public Service Commission since Big Sandy is regulated by the PSC. Cities such as Louisa are not regulated by the PSC.”
In a non related matter said his client, newly elected council member Mitch Castle has had pending Johnson County indictment for him on a 2011 matter has had the case dropped by the Commonwealth’s Attoney office. Castle will cot comment officiallly until the order has been signed. Castle was the second highest vote getter in the General election for Council member which shows the citizens here apparently did not believe the charges to begin with.
“The Mitch Castle matter has been resolved. Since he is a client I can’t discuss it now. Once I get a copy of the order and it becomes a matter of public record I can send you a copy if you want it.”
(The levisaLazer.com has had a reporter at nearly every city council meeting, missing maybe a half dozen in the seven years of publication. We will continue to do so but please accept this form of reporting this week. –-Mark Grayson)