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Lewisport City Council Monthly Meeting – new water plant discussed,

Lewisport City Council Monthly Meeting – new water plant discussed, Wes Pate resigns, new truck for Fire Department approved.

The Lewisport City Council met on Thursday, September 15 for their monthly meeting and discussed several topics, including the possibility of building a new water plant in the future.

Mayor Chad Gregory commented on the project: “What we’re looking at right now is potentially building a new water plant to service the needs of Lewisport and the surrounding area. We want to have the ability to make that a regional plant as well.

I’m proud of the progress that we’re making here in Lewisport. I think that the water plant project is going to be needed and that it will hopefully service more of the county and further future growth as well.”

There are no major problems with water currently, but Gregory said that his goal is to “head that off” before it becomes an issue. He announced that Matt Curtis (of Bluegrass Engineering) is going to be at the October Lewisport City Council meeting to go though all of the logistics of the possible construction of the new plant.

A likely site for it would be the land that they have acquired by the Lewisport Community Center. “This water plant would be of considerable size and would be filled for a potential regional plant,” Gregory said. “We’re probably looking at about a $10-$12 million price tag. With our growth and other potential things that might be coming along – one of them that might use a lot of water – it could stretch us a little bit. So, we need to get the ball in motion to go ahead and start looking at our options on this.”
This will be several years in the making and the plan would be to start off small.

The Council will be mocking-up some plans with Matt Curtis next month based on the Hardinsburg plant – a large enough plant to service the area with room for growth.

Gregory explained how the growth of Lewisport affects the tax rate: “That is a compensating rate. As we continue to grow, the tax rate will go down. We can only make a certain percentage. For example, we grew by 3 million dollars this year, so our tax rate will continue to go down. We have to increase it to keep it at the former levels that it was at.  For years, we were at 21 cents. Then when we got bigger, the rates started being driven down due to our growth. We just raised it back up as close to 21 cents as we could this year because if we did not do that, we would lose revenue. All Kentucky cities do this, not just Lewisport. As we grow, it drives that property tax rate down.”

To illustrate the increases: In 2021 the total real property was $53,006,676 with a tax rate of .206. The real property assessment for 2022 is $56,426,819 with a 4 percent increase, that will take the tax rate to .202. “We’re just trying to keep up with it. It’s a good problem to have because when the assessment goes up the rate will go down,” Gregory said.

Council member Wes Pate resigned from his seat of 8 years on the Lewisport City Council and Mayor Gregory thanked him for all of his years of serving.
Pate said: “It’s been a great 8 years. I appreciate everything. I appreciate your leadership, Mayor Gregory. I appreciate the council. There were some things that I wanted to see happen, like that sidewalk. And that looks good out there. And, some internet improving. It’s been a good 8 years and we’re in a great spot. I’ll be watching you from across the field.”

To replace that seat on the Council until the election in November, it was voted that either one of 2 new potential candidates that filed for office this year will serve. Which one that will be has not yet been determined. There are 6 candidates running in the election.

“We have 4 incumbents and we have 2 new individuals that are on the ballot,” Gregory said. “It will probably be one of those two (that will fill Pate’s seat until the election).”

All council members were in favor of continuing with Republic Services for the trash franchise agreement and Todd Chamberlain, Manager of Municipal and Government Repairs for public services said: “We are proud to supply these services to the community. We look forward to continuing that partnership and continuing high quality services that you have enjoyed not just on the residential side but on the commercial. We were talking earlier about the economic development that is happening within the community. That’s an exciting thing for this city. It’s an exciting thing for us to be able to add those customers in as well.

We want to be responsible for what we do and we want to do it to the best of our ability. We want to make sure the community gets what they need – and do that as we go through these open-bid processes and make sure that it is at the most economical price that we can. I would be remiss if I didn’t understand and recognize that there is a difference in what you paid before and what you’ll be paying now. It’s a situation that everyone is in, from fuel to steel to labor to insurance – all of those things that are part of the businesses that we run and after a period of time, the cost increases were outpacing the expenses and those adjustments have to be made.

We’re excited about the opportunity to continue our partnership and we want to do that for the next five years and longer if that’s possible.”

The approval was made for the booster station for the emergency tie-in with East Daviess County Water. Mayor Gregory said: “Going back a few months, we were awarded the money for that project when the Lieutenant Governor was here.”

Approval was made for Lewisport Fire Chief Troy Roberts to purchase a new pickup truck for the station, which would be used for several tasks.

Chief Roberts said the new truck will be used for responding to scenes first, which will save them from having to pull the big fire truck out when it isn’t necessary.
“As of right now, the brush truck is the only truck that will pull the 6×6 – the Polaris we use for hill fires,” Roberts said. “If the brush truck goes out and we need that side-by-side, then I’d have to hook-up my Tahoe or we’d have to hook-up personal vehicles to pull it to wherever we need to pull it to. So, this truck would also be for that and for pulling the trailer as well.”

He said they are looking for quad cabs and it would also, potentially, be used for going to and from meetings and trainings. Emergency vehicle operations courses were recently mandated by the state per House Bill 298, and they will participate in part one of phase one on Thursday Sept 22, in Madisonville.

Lewisport City Administrator Jason Roberts gave his report: “We’ve had several services – a lot of gas disconnects we’ve been doing. We’ve been doing a lot of work in Hancock Park, getting all that ready. All of the electric is in. Water is going to be tied-in tomorrow. And, waiting on a welder to get the gas tied-in. Once all that is done, and the new structure is done back there for the new development, Ricky is going to start building homes soon.”

The City of Lewisport has been switching over to LED lighting for more well-lit streets. They are currently in the process of completing this project. Council members agreed that the new lighting is brighter and safer and that was their goal.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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