Merger has proven to be good; study needed first

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Our Views

 Having the Metropolitan Sewer District take over the operations of the Shepherdsville Sewer System seems like a great idea.

At first blush, being able to get rid of over $28 million in debt would be an excellent thing.

Upon further study, it might or it might not be a good deal for the citizens of Shepherdsville.

Shepherdsville officials have just started discussions with MSD leaders about various options, one of which could be the total takeover of the city’s treatment system.

It is way too early to know whether any merger would be a good or a bad idea.

For those in the area, we’ve probably heard the problems MSD is having in Jefferson County. From a less-than-favorable audit to issues with the EPA, MSD has a lot on its plate.

At the same time, Louisville Water Co., which has been a very good neighbor and partner in Bullitt County, has basically taken over the management of MSD.

City leaders have already expressed their concern about the future of the current sewer department employees. Any deal will include securing their positions in any future merger.

Another issue is how rates would be affected.

This is an area where Shepherdsville customers may benefit the most. Currently, the MSD rates are about $20 a month on average less than Shepherdsville.

However, there are also concerns about drainage fees, which could be very costly for businesses with a lot of property.

Getting rid of $28 million in debt would be great for the city. MSD has the ability to spread that debt out.

MSD getting a foothold in Bullitt County could lead to some bigger projects, such as a regional treatment plant west of the city on the Salt River. Of course, that would mean sewage from other communities might be piped through Bullitt County.

If you took a snapshot of what we know, a merger seems very promising.

The city’s previous partnership with the Louisville Water Co. was one of the best decisions Shepherdsville ever made. There were some people who were upset when LWC took over the city system. Today, those complaints are non-existent.

We believe that such an arrangement, with the city having protections, such as being part of an advisory board, could be very beneficial in terms of the sewer system.

While making improvements, there are maintenance issues where Shepherdsville remains years  behind. It is not a matter of effort; it is a matter of money.

We hope the city officials take a long, hard look on a deal which could be very attractive.