Council to seek grants to upgrade water pumps

Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:35 am

Albany City Council held its regular meeting last Tuesday, October 1 with five of six members on hand. The council, during its almost one-hour meeting, finalized the city tax rates for 2019 and approved an application for a grant that would improve the city’s water system.

The council first heard from representatives of Monarch Engineers who informed the council they were working through the Lake Cumberland Area Development District to apply for a combined grant/loan application in the amount of $2.7 million that would replace three high service water pumps.

The revised application is being applied for with the Kentucky Infrastructure Association (KIA). Engineers explained the maximum forgiveness of the loan would be about $1.3 million, along with an approximate $1 million grant. The city’s payback share on the combined grant/loan was estimated at around $855,000.

The improvements to the system, it was noted, would also include installation of nine or 10 new master meters to be installed.

The estimated length of time it would take to get the grant/loan approved was about a year and the amount it may effect water customer rates will not be known until the city’s audit is complete later this year.

Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher asked the engineers if the city declared a water emergency would that help with the loan process or speed the process along.

At the conclusion of the discussion on the grant/loan application, Thrasher made such a motion, which was seconded by councilman Tony Delk and passed by unanimous vote.

Councilman Delk also asked engineers what the difference was in the KIA grant being applied for now compared to the mines and minerals grant for new lines to the Duvall Valley area, since the latter grant had recently been rejected.

The city had originally applied for a grant of approximately $2 million to fund lines to the Duvall Valley and Bald Rock areas in eastern Clinton County to replace lines and hopefully fix the problems of constant water loss and low water pressure.

The engineers noted that the funding applied for through that program had basically been depleted before the local application was received, thus there was no money left during the past funding cycle for the project.

It had been stated at an earlier meeting the grant was rejected because the city did not have enough collateral, or incoming revenues, to guarantee repayment of the project.

Mayor Lyle Pierce said during the meeting that he had been told the reason was because of the city’s financial situation, but told the council the city has now re-applied for that grant for the Duvall Valley project.

A couple who reside on the Davis Chapel Road near the Wayne County line addressed the council about a problem they have been experiencing with low water pressure to their home, which is on an elevated area.

They said the problem had grown worse over the last year or so and that neighbors in the area that live in lower elevations were not experiencing the same problem.

It was noted there may be some type of water leak in the general area and also that the lines that supply their water are the same lines fed off of those in the Duvall Valley area, which also experiences frequent low pressure problems.

The mayor assured the residents he would have city water department employees check on the situation and try and find the problem the following day.

The council then held second and final reading, setting the 2019 year city tax rates. First reading was held last month. Those rates will remain unchanged at .18 cents per $100 assessed value on personal property and .20 cents on tangible, motor vehicle and watercraft.

The council also agreed to keep the annual Halloween night Trick-or-Treat hours in the city of Albany unchanged, from 5-8 p.m., agreed to shut off a portion of West Cumberland Street for an upcoming event sponsored by Albany First Baptist Church and discussed striping of streets that have been recently repaved in the city.

Councilman Delk also said he had received a few complaints about “smoke odor” in the city water department from customers who come in and pay bills or do business.

Mayor Pierce noted that the city buildings were “smoke free” and he would take care of the issue.

Prior to adjourning the just over half-hour meeting, councilwoman Renee York suggested the city consider setting up at Facebook page to inform all residents in the city and council about when water outages or pressure problems occur.