County Treasurer David Layne told the Floyd County Fiscal Court this week that the Southern Water and Sewer District repaid a loan it owed the county.

Earlier this year, fiscal court members voted to pay Southern Water $150,000 in increments of $75,000 under the condition that the district repay the loan before July 16 or pay the fiscal court liquidated damages of $100 per day until the full amount is repaid to the fiscal court.

Southern Water then filed an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission to obtain permission to get a loan from Community Trust Bank to repay the fiscal court. The PSC approved that loan application last month, and Southern Water repaid the fiscal court after receiving the bank loan. The fiscal court did not impose the liquidated damages required by the loan agreement with Southern.

David Tackett, market president for Community Trust Bank and treasurer of the Floyd County tourism commission, which is appointed by the fiscal court, submitted an amended loan agreement for Southern Water last month, reporting that the bank will loan Southern Water $150,000 for 84 months at five percent interest, or a total of $28,000 in interest. The collateral for the loan will be lien on a $150,000 money market account owned fiscal court, the filing says.

During the meeting Tuesday, Judge-Executive Robbie Williams commended Southern Water commissioners for the work they have been doing to improve the district.

Williams reported that the fiscal court helped secure a $1.5 million federal grant to help Southern Water replace its old meters.

“What happened was the Public Service Commission put on Southern Water an order of $58 a month, a flat fee, because there was so many meters that didn’t work or were reading, they weren’t accurate,” he said. “So they just said the only way we could be fair is to put a flat fee on everyone.”

He explained the flat rate raised bills for residents who use less water and lowered bills for customers who use more water.

“There’s no fairness in it, but that’s the reason we went and got the million-and-a-half dollars that we got, so we can get these meters put in, so Southern can get the meters put in, in the next six months,” Williams said.

He explained that after that grant is finalized and meters are installed, water bills for some residents will likely decrease.

“Folks at Southern, they appreciate the people’s patience,” Williams said. “They been through a lot. They understand what’s happened, but, you know, the board that’s in place now, this was laid in their lap. They inherited this ... and these guys have done a good job.”  

During the meeting, Martin business owner Deanna Mullins addressed the fiscal court about concerns she said she has about the community center in Martin. Mullins has previously addressed the fiscal court, seeking to lease the community center after it is renovated for a nonprofit program for children.

She told fiscal court members that she works as a substitute teacher and has seen how difficult life is for some children.

“Right now I just kind of want to voice a concern for our county,” she said. “Our kids are struggling right now, majorly ... I feel that as a county, we need to work toward getting something like the community center up and running so these kids have something because I feel like they don’t have, and I hate to say it, but they don’t have anything. They don’t.”

She said an afterschool program is “desperately needed” and talked about high school students tutoring students there.

“So, I’m hoping that some decisions could be made or some opportunities could be given to these kids that need it desperately,” she said.

Williams told her, “We’re working on the community center every day ... We’re pushing. We’re trying to get it open.”

He talked about seeing more than 100 people last week playing basketball in Knott County. He reported that the community center will be open for basketball, volleyball, tutoring, exercising and a food pantry.

“We’re going to have facilities in the front office to do the after school program,” Williams said. “The office that Chris Waugh had is going to be a workout room. We’re going to have bicycles, elliptical trainers, things in there, couple of televisions, so when Mom and Dad brings their kids up to practice ball, play ball, they can go in there and work out for free. In the front office, we’re going to have some computers with some after school stuff, and we’re also going to have a food pantry because we have three housing projects there in the community.”

He said the project “turned into a little more than what we thought.”

In other news, the fiscal court also:

• Learned from Williams that county officials will have “zero tolerance” for violations of the burn ban he implemented this week.

• Paid $610,000 in bills, with about $247,000 paid in the general fund, $100,000 paid in federal disaster funds, $180,000 in road funds and the rest at the jail and in other programs.

• Approved a $25,000 draw down from the Alcohol and Beverage Control regulatory fees for the sheriff’s department.

• Approved the Fall Cleanup to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 25 and from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 26. Code Enforcement Officer Joe Reynolds reported that Waste Connections is making repairs to dumpsters in the county. He also reported that he answered 15 complaints, has worked with landowners who tore down two dilapidated homes on Sally Stephens Branch and Mare Creek and that he has been visiting homes with delinquent garbage bills in the county. He reported that most of the delinquent bills at 90 addresses are abandoned, but he talked to 40 property owners who agreed to start paying their bills.

• Received a request from Jailer Stuart “Bear” Halbert who asked for a schedule that could be used for the road services inmates provide for the fiscal court. The program started in May and Magistrate Ronnie Akers said the inmates haven’t yet worked in his district. Williams mentioned the inmates working in particular districts each week.

• Reported that Brent Graden, who was employed a few months ago as a contract grant writer, is no longer working for the fiscal court. Williams reported that Prestonsburg and the county are working together to hire a grant writer.

• Appointed Dale Kimbler as county road foreman through Sept. 2021, reporting he will also serve as a FEMA agent in the county.

• Tabled a resolution to adjust salaries for several employees.

• Approved a resolution adding a 12 ft. by 150 ft. section of Stephens Road into the county road system.

• Agreed to sell surplus vehicles, including a 2003 Chevy Astro Van, a 1993 Ford van, a 1999 Chevy Tracker, a 1998 Chevy Blazer, a 1999 Chevy Tahoe, a 2007 Komatsu excavator, a 2007 Komatsu excavator and a farm tractor. The vehicles will be open for inspection at the county garage through Oct. 10. Bids will be awarded Oct. 15.

• Appointed Charlie Williams, brother of Robbie Williams, to the Kentucky Mountain Recreational Authority for a four-year term that ends in Sept. 2023.

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