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Shepherdsville remains committed to $18 million sewer expansion plan

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE — City officials renewed their commitment to an $18 million sewer expansion project and a pledge to improve its procedures to select its next sanitation company.

While previously approving the bond issue earlier this summer, Shepherdsville officials showed their continued support by passing another resolution.

The $18 million bond issue would allow the city to expand its current sewer plant. It would also allow for the expansion of service for property in unserved areas, especially the Clermont community.

New customers would provide enough revenue to pay for the city’s lease payments.

The city’s treatment plant, although it was again awarded a state award for its operation, exceeded capacity at times.

To handle new growth, the city has been exploring the expansion plan.

Earlier this year, the late state Rep. Larry Belcher presented a $1 million check to Shepherdsville for its sewer project; however, funding from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority would not be available immediately. It is in the state budget for the next year.

The city also renewed its commitment to economic development in the Cedar Grove Business Park.

Alliance Entertainment, which recently opened a second facility, will receive a .5 percent credit for their occupational tax. A total of 365 employees are to be hired in the second distribution facility.

On the original business, which opened in June 2004, the city granted a full 1 percent credit for the occupational tax.

Under this program, the employees pay the 1 percent occupational tax but businesses have the chance to keep that money if they meet certain standards set up by the city.

The tax credits go for 10 years.

In other business:

*Councilmember Bonnie Enlow apologized over the confusion caused by the recent transfer of the city’s sanitation contract.

The four-year deal was awarded to Eco Tech. Although some figures were incorrectly reported, Enlow said the residential bid for Eco-Tech was $9.50 for all four years. The former contractor, Rumpke, bid $9.35 per month for the first two years but it would increase to $9.82 for the last two years.

Waste Management bid $13.45 per month for all four years.

Over the course of the four-year period, Enlow said the Eco-Tech contract would actually save residential customers $3.68.

Besides the residential savings, Enlow said that Eco-Tech was more reasonable on having a recycling program that didn’t require 100 percent participation.

None of the three companies are located in Bullitt County but Enlow said all have employees who live in the area.

Also, she was concerned that Rumpke was asking for changes in the city’s ordinance.

Other concerns voiced at previous meetings included a charge for a second company-provided can. Enlow said one can is provided but residents can put out the same amount of garbage in their own containers and it would be picked up.

Another concern was the increase in commercial charges.

“I felt like my decision was in the best interest of the citizens,” said Enlow. “Rumpke did an excellent job. My decision was based on facts and figures.”

However, councilmember Stacey Dawson Cline was concerned that the bid solicitation was not advertised by law in the local legal newspaper, The Pioneer News.

City clerk Maxine Jeffries said notices were sent to all area sanitation companies.

Another question mentioned at a previous meeting was the lack of a motion to approve the bid.

The bid was accepted by a 3-2 roll-call vote. No motion was ever made to accept or to reject any bids.

Since Rumpke agreed to continue providing service even after the contract had expired, councilmembers have discussed making sure provisions are put into place to make sure the process goes smoother in four years.

“I want to apologize for the confusion over the garbage bids,” said Enlow. “We, as a city, failed to notify you in a timely adequate manner. I assure you the city is taking steps to correct this....”

*Mayor Sherman Tinnell said that the state highway department will be having two vacant homes on North Buckman Street torn down in the near future.

The homes are part of the buyout program to expand Highway 61 from Shepherdsville to the north end.

*Carol Lee thanked the city for its work on Arrowhead Lane.

She said the city workers got rid of an eyesore and it helped beautify the area.

*City employees should all be wearing identification badges, according to Cline. She wanted residents to know who are actually city employees.

Also, Cline was interested in a random drug screening program for employees.

Chief Doug Puckett said the police department already has such a program and Jeffries said the city is setting up one for the rest of the employees. It helps with the city’s workers’ comp insurance premiums.

The next meeting of the Shepherdsville City Council will be on Monday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.

Also, a special unveiling of portraits of past mayors will be made on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to city hall for the presentation.