Sewer users get news on higher rates next billing

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By Stephen Thomas

    PIONEER VILLAGE - An upcoming change in sewer rates left many Pioneer Village residents with questions and concerns.

    Bullitt County Sanitation District, the organization responsible for the changes, hoped to answer questions and calm concerns during a public forum.

    Jerry Kennedy, district manager, addressed the new wastewater situation facing the city.

    BC Sanitation purchased the city’s current wastewater treatment plant from owner Jim Walser at a cost of $400,000.

    “Walser came to the district and asked us to take over,” Kennedy said. He mentioned that BC Sanitation complied with state regulations, adding that private wastewater plant ownership was discouraged to avoid major issues for customers.

    With new ownership comes a new billing system. Kennedy previously approached the Pioneer Village City Council to notify of the changes. The town hall meeting was suggested by mayor Gary Hatcher.

    “We did not want your first contact with us to be a bill you received in the mail telling you that your rates have gone up,” Kennedy said.

    BC Sanitation currently owns and operates other plants including three in Hillview, Bullitt Hills, Willabrook and another at Prologis. New rates in Pioneer Village would adapt to set rates for other customers.

    Current rates for Pioneer Village residents are set at $16 per month.

    New BC Sanitation projected rates were set at a primary rate of $14 per month for customers using a monthly consumption of less than 2,000 gallons.

    For each additional 1,000 gallons used, Kennedy said customers would receive an additional charge of $4.35. He estimated a family of four using 5,000-6,000 gallons per month, a charge of over $30.

    “Substantial water users could see a substantial increase,” he said.

    One of the first questions raised was the addition of further taxes in regards to the new rates.

    “We receive no money from the tax coffers whatsoever,” Kennedy said.

    One resident asked if the Walser plant was up to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Another asked if the plant had problems. Kennedy said the plant met standards and maintenance issues were minimal.

    “The district can, and Mr. Walser could not, receive state grants,” said Kennedy. “This allows us to fix problems. We have no set staff, I do all the work. We try to put our money not in staff but in fixing and improving.”

    Kennedy also said BC Sanitation was acquiring some deficiencies with the Walser plant but added that all areas were required to be functional at the time of purchase. He said ownership was scheduled to change by July 1.

    Concerns were raised in regards to further maintenance issues in the city such as regulating manhole covers.

    “This is where I hope you will see a different level of service,” said Kennedy. “You pay a sewer bill, you expect to receive a certain amount of service.”

    As far as billing, Kennedy mentioned bill would still be received through the Louisville Water Company with BC Sanitation’s new rates and reimbursements.

    Kennedy encouraged customers to keep an eye out for December bills that would include summer rebates based on spring/summer water use versus fall/winter.

    Asked about future plant capacity, Kennedy said the Walser plant would fit the area’s needs for another 5-10 years.

    “If any new facilities come to the area, those companies flip the bills (for expansion),” Kennedy said.

    During the meeting Kennedy even addressed the issue of making the current wastewater plant “more aesthetically pleasing.” He said BC Sanitation would consider new paint or landscaping.

    Kennedy encouraged all Pioneer Village residents to contact BC Sanitation, 957-6140, with any questions, concerns, or complaints. He said a representative would be available at all times.