Joe P. Asher
Water system issues once again took center stage during a meeting of the Cumberland City Council on Tuesday.
The council discussed options handed down to them by the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) due to the city’s water issues.
Mayor Carl Hatfield explained to the council the DEP has given the city three options. The first option states the city must pay a $10,000 fine and have all the water plant issues corrected by July 13. The second option is for the city to attempt to renegotiate the penalties with the state. The third option would be for Cumberland to do nothing and let the state take the city to court in order to attempt to take over the city’s water system.
“We might have to turn the water and sewer over,” said Hatfield. “Even if we keep it, it’s going to cost us more money.”
Council member Carolyn Elliot indicated she would prefer the city retain the water plant.
“You don’t have a thing to lose by attempting to keep it for now,” said Elliot.
Hatfield pointed out this may be a temporary solution.
“If we try this, give them this $10,000, then we’ll keep the water plant and sewer plant for maybe two months and (if) we violate one of the notices of violation, then they’ll come in and take over anyway,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield informed the council he would go along with whatever decision they made.
“I’m leaving this up to you guys. You tell me what you want to do with it. You know what the problems are, and I think you know exactly what we need to do to fix it,” said Hatfield. “We’re going to be out thousands and thousands of dollars above our budget. They had over a $1,000,000 targeted just to repair the water plant at one time.”
After a lengthy discussion, the council decided to delay any action until council members could gather more information from the DEP.
In an interview conducted later, Hatfield confirmed the city of Cumberland has been given more time to comply with the conditions required by the state.
According to Hatfield, the city has been given an additional two to four months to make the necessary repairs to the water plant. The $10,000 penalty has also been placed on hold and could be cancelled if the city makes acceptable repairs to the water system.
In other council activity:
* The council completed the first reading of the budget for the city of Cumberland for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and the first reading of an ordinance to raise the city’s water rates;
* A resolution was passed to apply for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security for new radios for the Cumberland Police Department.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org