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Time running out for water subsidy

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Since merging with the Kentucky Turnpike Water District in September 2000, Louisville Water Co. has had an aggressive goal.

The goal was to provide service to all areas of Bullitt County, excluding those being served by the cities of Mount Washington and Lebanon Junction.

With two years left on the plan, the list of unserved roads is quickly vanishing.

But to serve those roads, there must be a desire of residents to hook up to service and the financial subsidies offered to lower the cost will also go away in two years.

Jim Grunow, an engineer with Louisville Water and manager for several years on the Bullitt County extension project, said the advisory board as been aggressive in extending water.

During a recent meeting of Bullitt Fiscal Court, Grunow and new project manager Lynn Spencer outlined the accomplishments of the Bullitt County Water Improvement Program over the past eight years.

Since the merger, 1,687 projects had been completed and another 107 projects are underway.

The final 12 percent of the unserved residents represent another 234 projects that have not been started.

Thanks to the development in the county over the past eight years, over 1,822 lots have been extended water service and developers have contributed over $4.9 million in tap fees and other fees associated with the 52 new subdivisions.

According to statistics released, Grunow said as part of the agreement, LWC went to work to upgrade the existing system.

That has helped the county acquire 597 new fire hydrants and 274 gate values, all important for the protection of the public and the operation of the system.

In looking toward the final two years of the extension program, Grunow said it is important that people realize that they must act quickly.

Under the current program, the maximum cost incurred for the main extension is $5,450. After Dec. 31, 2011, they would be responsible for the entire cost.

From experiences since the merger, Grunow said the average cost has been $10,000-$20,000 per customer. The highest cost has been $75,000 a customer.

Once the December 2011 deadline is reached, customers will bore the entire cost of the water extension.

In looking at the 25 miles of unserved customers, the estimated cost is $6.6 million and it would involve 197 homes.

While the projects are spread out, they are concentrated in the First and Fourth magisterial districts with none in the Third District and only one in the Second District.

In order to get as many of the unserved projects completed by the 2011 deadline, Grunow said there would be an aggressive effort taken by LWC.

To initiate the project, Grunow said there is a 2/3 majority interest letter that must be signed. Once two-thirds of the property owners on a particular route sign the letter of interest, engineering work can begin.

Letters would be sent on numerous occasions to property owners living on public streets which do not have service.

Once the projects are complete, Grunow said there has been difficulty getting residents to actually sign up for water service.

The agency is looking at offering incentives to allow the reduced rate of $5,450 to be in effect for just one year after service is ready.

Magistrate Eddie Bleemel inquired about any assistance for people who just cannot afford the tap-on costs.

Grunow said LWC has a financial option with a 20-year loan where customers would pay just over $45 a month on their water bills for 20 years. He said that would be less than people pay to have water hauled.

Anyone with questions about getting a road project considered for service should contact Ray Abell and Lynn Spencer at the Burkland Boulevard office.