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Condition of stream concerns city officials

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By Stephen Thomas

 HUNTERS HOLLOW - It started as an environmental concern, then turned into a legal concern, but now is becoming a health concern.

The Hunters Hollow City Council is worried that someone will become sick from the dirty water in the creek located within the city.

The new concern comes from what city officials claim was a positive test by the city's storm water engineer, Jim Harned, for E-Coli in the stream.

City attorney Mark Edison said the stream was designated as an intermittent blue-line stream according to Harned. The Army Corps of Engineers defines an intermittent blue-line stream as flowing for most or all of the year.

Hunters Hollow joined other northern Bullitt cities in an interlocal storm water agreement five years ago to bring the cities in compliance with state regulations. Harned was hired as engineer for the cities.

City officials were upset in recent years with efforts made by Bullitt County Sanitation DIstrict to improve stream flow.

Mayor Linda Parker was particularly upset that rip rap rock was added to the stream by BCSD, replacing the stream's natural surface.

According to Parker, the stream has turned black in the past four years. She said employees contracted by BCSD commonly scrub the stream clean following overflow from the BCSD sewer plant.

Parker said BCSD director Jerry Kennedy informed her he requested a permit from the Kentucky Division of Water allowing him to replace rip rap with concrete to improve the stream's flow.

The council members agreed that concrete was not the desired solution to fix the stream in regards to sewage back-ups and smell.

"The engineer said concrete would smell for a day, but vegetation would smell for a week," Parker said.

Edison said both options would only continue to worsen without fixing the connecting sewage treatment plant.

Parker mentioned a recent north end storm water meeting in which Harned presented a copy of a county ordinance adopted in May. She said the county wanted each city ordinance to amend and comply with the county version.

"Kennedy applied for a permit with concrete," Parker said. "The county ordinance said no concrete. It's not worth adopting the county ordinance if they will not comply with it. I think the whole north end is tired of this."

To the council, the health of residents, particularly children who would otherwise play in the stream, was more important.

"I'm so afraid that a kid will be affected," said council member Bonnie Israel. "We can't monitor all the time."

Council member Phillip Price suggested notifying residents of the recent positive E-Coli test. He felt the city could place notification on its website and possibly send letters to residents.

Edison said any complaints by residents should be made to the Division of Water.

"At least the people in our city limits will know what's there," Parker said.

In other business:

- The council approved small increases in both real and personal property taxes.

A real property ad valorem tax rate was set at 10.60 cents per $100, up from last year's rate of 10.57.

According to Edison, the city would need to raise the rate to 10.66 to match tax income from the previous year. However, the 10.60 rate was the maximum increase allowed by law without a public hearing.

The city's personal property ad valorem tax rate was also set at 10.60, increased from 10.50, to match the real property rate.

Public Service rates were also raised from 10.50 to 10.60. Edison reminded the council that public service rates were required to match personal property rates.

- The next Hunters Hollow City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sep. 20. 7 p.m., in the Larry Belcher Community Room of Jewish Hospital Medical Center South. The public is invited to attend.