Harlan water rates to rise

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

October 22, 2013

A discussion concerning the city’s water rates kicked off a meeting of the Harlan City Council on Monday.

Mayor Danny Howard introduced Harlan Water Works Superintendent Otis Lewis to the council. Lewis brought the panel up to date on the financial status of the city’s water system.

“Harlan Water Works has had a rate analysis completed by a professional rate consultant,” said Lewis. “They are recommending a 13 percent rate increase. Our board has approved that, and we have also submitted this rate analysis and the rate increase to the public service commission and it has come back approved back in September.”

The rate analysis was performed by Lee Utility Consulting in Danville, according to Lewis.

Lewis said the board wanted to advise the council of the situation before implementing the rate increase.

According to Lewis, there hasn’t been a water rate hike in more than 10 years.

Lewis said operating costs have skyrocketed during that 10-year period.

“We test daily, we test monthly, we test quarterly,” said Lewis. “It seems like every time the EPA wants to do a new round of testing, we get chosen to be the forerunner for it.”

Lewis said the increase is necessary in order to continue supplying clean drinking water.

According to Lewis, the rate increase will be reflected on the next bill in approximately one week.

The council also discussed proposed annexation of some land located in Sunshine.

According to city attorney Scott Lisenbee, the property is not owned by the individual they initially thought.

“How temporary or permanent that roadblock is remains to be seen,” said Lisenbee. “It turns out they don’t own the property, they lease the property.”

Lisenbee said the actual ownership of the property is unclear.

“It’s tied up with a bunch of heirs,” said Lisenbee.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitasmedial.com