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Olive Hill hears dispute over water lines

Approves payment for energy savings project

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

While it can be hard to be patient, and follow the process, that’s what the city of Olive Hill is asking two pairs of city residents to do in unrelated cases.

In one case a resident issued a complaint about an unkempt property, with code enforcement officer Allen Stapleton replying and explaining that notices have been issued in the case. Stapleton told council that the property owner has been given 90 days to bring their property into compliance. However, one of the residents complaining about the property said she doesn’t believe the property owner has any intention of complying and that waiting for 90 days just means three more months of looking at the mess before the city has to take action. But while the resident wasn’t happy with the answer, Mayor Jerry Callihan reminded her there is a process which the city is legally required to follow.

In a similar, but unrelated case, Callihan told another property owner that she needed to provide the resident of an adjoining property access to his water meter so he could make necessary repairs. Callihan also told the property owner that she could not prohibit city employees from accessing those water connections either.

The resident, however, said she hasn’t allowed the neighboring tenant access to fix the water leak problem – which she said was causing erosion and wood rot problems on her property – because she believes there is a problem with water pressure in the neighborhood that means any repairs will be “blown out” again in the future.

She said she blocked access to the meters because she felt the city and her neighbor weren’t hearing her concerns about what she believes to be the underlying issue.

Callihan, however, said that there is no way the pressure should be sufficient to blow out pipes. He said that water runs past the neighborhood to other locations. It isn’t the end of line of pipe where pressure could conceivably continue to build during the overnight hours, when usage drops, as the resident insists is happening.

In addition to Callihan’s explanation that water continues to flow through and past the neighborhood, the water doesn’t follow the pattern of higher morning pressure that steadily drops as the tap remains open which Callihan said he would expect if there was a pressure issue in the neighborhood.

He also told the resident that her problems with water pressure blowing out lines in her family’s hot water tank could be the result of a faulty flow regulator on her side of the meter. Those regulators, he explained, can no longer be made of lead. As a result, more and more are now made of plastic, which breaks and fails more quickly.

Callihan also told her the city could not disconnect the water, no matter how large the leak was, as long as the property owner was paying their bill.

If she wished to pursue legal action against the person with the leak for the purported damage to her property, she was free to do so Callihan said. But that was a civil matter, he explained, and not one for the city to become involved with.

He also reminded her that she was not legally allowed to block city employees from accessing meters, and that she could also be held liable for stopping her neighbor from accessing his water connection.

In other action council heard from Trane on the status of the energy savings project. The representative said once they get the filter in and installed, they are at a stage where they can begin testing the clarifier. He said the filter should be ready by the end of October, and that tanks were in place and additional piping would be installed over the next week.

Kirk Wilburn, a long critic of paying before the city sees progress, made the motion to make the payment – leaving only one more payment due. That motion was seconded by Eric Rayburn, who has also expressed concerns about the lack of progress but was reassured by work he saw when touring the facility.

But while Wilburn and Rayburn may have softened their stance, Wayne Russell remained unmoved. Russell was the lone “no” vote on council, with the motion passing on a four to one vote. Councilperson Shannon Shutte was not present.

Council also held the first reading of the 2023 property tax ordinance after moving to accept the compensating rate of .226 per $100 of valuation.

Council also accepted department reports, and heard from Tammy Moore about an upcoming breast cancer awareness event scheduled for October 30, set Trick-or-Treat for Halloween, October 31, from 6 – 8 p.m. and swore in Jeremy Rayburn for another term on the Code Enforcement Board.

Council also passed a resolution on the centerline project, which authorizes an official list of city streets as recognized by the FIVCO area development district. This list is required in order for the development district to help with funding for city street projects.

Council also entered into the first reading of a new net metering ordinance, which would ease the transition to solar or other alternative energy sources by allowing homes or buildings with renewable energy to feed power to the grid during non-peak hours for a credit on their energy bill.

While there may still be some changes before the final reading, city attorney Derrick Willis explained that he had prepared the summary resolution in conjunction with the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association, to guarantee they were following all appropriate rules.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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