SHEPHERDSVILLE - There was much excitement recently with the announcement that a major sewer extension and plant expansion would become reality in the city of Shepherdsville.
The plan would take sewer lines south to Highway 245 and pick up various customers, including Jim Beam Distillery and the future home of a community and technical college.
The existing treatment plant, which often runs at or over capacity during rainy periods, would be expanded.
Between state and private funding, the financing made the deal possible.
However, one city official isn’t so sure that the project couldn’t be done in a less expensive manner.
Councilman Larry Hatfield told fellow officials Monday evening that he was concerned about the $23 million project and its possible implications on the current ratepayers.
“I know I was not elected to this council to sit still while the city spends money unwisely, so I won’t,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield and Alan Wetzel were appointed to a committee earlier this year to look at the viability of the project. At one point, it was deemed a dead project.
After many meetings, the project was able to move forward and Gov. Steve Beshear recently announced that $3 million in state funding was approved for the work.
Last week, Hatfield said he brought his concerns about the path of the sewer lines to engineers and the state Division of Water. He was not pleased with the response.
As part of the committee, Hatfield said the members spent six months trying to protect the people of Shepherdsville. His goal was to keep a heavy burden off the ratepayers so they weren’t required to pay the brunt of the project.
He feels with a different route, maybe millions of dollars could be trimmed off the project.
“At this time, I want to be on the record stating that this project has not been routed in the most cost effective manner,” said Hatfield in a prepared statement.
While offering suggestions on possible cost-cutting changes, Hatfield said he has been met with resistance.
The councilman said he doesn’t want to stop anything but he does think there is room for changes.
And there are things in the project, such as oversized pumps, that won’t benefit the city for many years to come.
He was very displeased that the state could basically order the city how to finance the project.
Hatfield said he knew the bids on the project had already been accepted and he didn’t know if it was too late to make changes. And he didn’t know if his statement on Monday would make any difference with the rest of the council.
“I just tell you what I think,” said Hatfield. “I think we can save some money for the city.”