Is Asked In Return Why Burgin’s Water Bills Are So High
Burgin City Councilman Sindicat “Sid” Dunn went to last week’s meeting of the Mercer County Sanitation District to share some of his constituents’ concerns about the Burgin sewer system.
Many residents believe that flooding around Water Street has been exacerbated by blasting done by contractors while building the sewer. Dunn, who said he was not officially representing the city, asked about the flooding.
Liz Dienst, an engineer with Strand and Associates, the engineering firm that oversaw the project, blamed the flooding on the weather.
“We’ve had an extraordinary amount of rain this year,” Dienst said.
In addition to performing a geologic survey before construction, she said engineers had bored into the ground at places where contractors were working. Dienst said they never hit any underground chambers. Once construction was finished, she said contractors used granular rock as backfill which allows water to flow.
“Any water that flowed around there can still flow around there,” Dienst said.
Dunn asked about sags and blockages that have been observed during visual inspections of the sewer lines. Dienst attributed the sags to settlement after construction and the blockages to debris introduced into the lines when customers hooked into the system.
Dunn said residents were also complaining about the cost. Homeowners are charged a $40 minimum, and Dunn said many were complaining that they would leave Burgin.
“We don’t want to lose residents,” Dunn said.
“It’s not affordable for the residents right now,” Dunn said. “We need to find some sort of way to reduce this cost.”
Dunn was told that, while the sanitation district was looking at possibly readjusting the minimum rate, the rates were set by the federal government as part of financing the sewer.
Dunn asked if being a board member is a paid position. He was told the board of directors get paid $300 a month, the same rate since 2005.
“Can we eliminate some of that?” Dunn said.
Sanitation District Mike Sanford asked Dunn, if he was so concerned about how much citizens pay, why didn’t the City of Burgin reduce their water bills?
“I would ask you why you have the second highest water rates in the state?” asked Sanford. While the city only charges a $14.90 minimum, customers who use over 5,000 gallons pay $51.25 a month, which is twice the cost for Harrodsburg—which charges a $12.99 minimum and $25.55 per month for 5,000 gallons—and Danville— which charges a $12.99 minimum and $21.93 a month for 5,000 gallons. These figures come from the Kentucky Water and Sewer Utilities Survey 2018, a report from the Kentucky Rural Water Association.
Sanford also said the City of Burgin had $700,000 in the bank.
“You guys haven’t done maintenance in 30 years,” Sanford said.
At that point, James Dunn, chairman of the sanitation district board of directors, asked for order.
“We appreciate your concerns,” James Dunn said.
In related business, the board noted that Todd Johnson Contracting Inc. of Danville, who sued the district last year, were repairing issues found since construction finished. Liz Dienst said there are still six lines that need to be repaired.
The next meeting of the Mercer County Sanitation District will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at the Lake Village Water Association (801 Pleasant Hill Drive, Burgin).
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.