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Sanitation District Dealing With Higher Utility Rates

From right: Larry Catlett, attorney for the Mercer County Sanitation District, goes over some paperwork with the board of directors, including Bruce Wade and Drew Rice. (File image).

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The Mercer County Sanitation District is considering how to handle a rate increase. The district, which has partnerships with several municipal utilities, has been notified of a rate increase by the City of Harrodsburg.
Mike Sanford, executive director of the sanitation district, said there hasn’t been an increase since 2015. Earlier this month, Sanford told the sanitation district’s board of directors they had no other option than to pass it on to the consumers. The percentage to each customer would be $4.48 increase per house, Sanford said.

Danville recognizes the sanitation district as a wholesale provider but Harrodsburg does not. Sanford said the consumer rate the district pays to Harrodsburg is roughly twice the wholesale rate. That’s the main reason the sanitation district ran the Burgin sewer line to Danville, which is cheaper than Harrodsburg. However, Harrodsburg does give the district a break on inflow and infiltration expenses.

“They’ve never recognized the district as a wholesale district,” Sanford said.

Two months ago, the sanitation district voted to pass along cost of living adjustments to consumers. The directors discussed their options, including meeting with Harrodsburg city officials.

“If they say no, do we have any other options?” asked board member Bruce Wade.

“No,” Sanford said.

“I think we need to have a conversation about being wholesale,” said board member Drew Rice. “We’re not a competitor, we’re servicing the areas they don’t want to service.”

The district’s rates are subject to an annual cost of living adjustment subject to the approval of the board of directors. Those increases would kick in July 1. The district recently revisited tap fees. However, they took no action until they had completed their calculations and talked with Harrodsburg city officials.

The board also discussed mandatory connection enforcement.

“We’ve had a pretty good response,” said Larry Catlett, the attorney for the sanitation district. Starting with 40 properties district officials were unsure were connected, Catlett said they were down to 10 that haven’t responded. One of them, owned by Bank of America, is working on resolution, leaving nine.

“You’ve got nine that it looks like you’ve got to decide what you want to do,” Catlett said. “It’s up to you all to decide what you want to do and when.”

Sanford said he is working with five property owners on a resolution.

“It’s going to take some effort to see it through,” Catlett said. He said they are going to have to perform physical inspections.

The next meeting of the Mercer County Sanitation District will be Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. at 801 Pleasant Hill Drive, Burgin.

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