Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

August 21, 2013

Magistrate criticizes Olive Hill Utilities

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Aug. 21, 2013 — Carter Fiscal Court met Tuesday morning and discussion focused on utility issues, missing equipment and cost-saving measures.

Magistrate Clifford Roe expressed concern at the prospect of Olive Hill Utilities extending its sewer service to the Pleasant Valley area.

According to figures Roe quoted, which he said were from 2008, residents in the area would be subject to a $1,500 tap fee to hook onto the sewer system.

Roe also stated that homeowners would be charged $100 per foot to run sewer line from the tap to their homes.

“This is bringing expenses on people that they can't afford,” said Roe.

Those figures, however, do not fall in line with the fee schedule outlined in the city's sewer ordinance.

The current fee is $300 to set up a sewer tap for a new customer. Included in that fee, the ordinance also specifies that the city will run a line from the tap to a resident's property boundary or for a distance of 100 feet, whichever is less.

Olive Hill Mayor Kenny Fankell said the city is currently looking into extending the sewer lines toward Smokey Valley Truck Stop at this time, but not towards Pleasant Valley.

“Helping the truck stop stay open will generate revenue for the city if we can bring them,” Fankell said. “I don't know where he is getting his figures but until we decide to go that route, there shouldn't be concern. I plan to talk with the area residents.”

Fankell said saving and creating jobs was the main reason for the possible expansion.

Roe also produced a bill for $3,701.14 for damage he claims was inflicted when Olive Hill Utilities decided to install a water line on Bailey Hollow Road.

“The city doesn't want to notify us when they do work that crosses county roads,” said Roe.

The Court unanimously approved a motion to forward the bill to the City of Olive Hill for payment, as well as a motion to install surveillance cameras at the county vehicle lot in Olive Hill.

Several items have been stolen recently from the lot which members of the Court felt necessitated installation of the cameras.

Judge-Executive Charles Wallace recommended that the Fiscal Court consider contracting with a private security company to provide home incarceration services to low-risk county inmates.

“I've managed to get this thing down to $5 a day for the ankle bracelets. If we can get 15-20 county inmates put on home incarceration and replace those with federal prisoners, we're looking at bringing more than $250,000 in new revenue,” Wallace said in an interview after the meeting.

Magistrate Mary Ellen Greenhill strongly advocated the plan and commended Wallace for his efforts in negotiating the deal.

“This is going to save the county a lot of money in the long run and will help with overcrowding at the jail,” said Greenhill.

Home incarceration can only be granted by a circuit or district judge and is only considered if the inmate agrees to pay the monitoring costs.

In other business, the Court voted to approve an increase in the Little Sandy Health Department's tax rate from 3 cents to 4 cents per $100 valuation.

Carter Fiscal Court will meet next at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, in Room 221 at the courthouse.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.