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Committee discusses waterline expansion

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By Jennifer Caldwell

 

Discussions of water and how to get it to the masses continued to occupy the conversation of commissioners Tuesday evening.

Representatives from each of the local utilities met with members of the commission’s waterline extension committee in an effort to gain momentum for a budget amendment that will provide money for surveys and grant applications to extend water lines from the 141 exit, to the Pioneer Post Office, Terry Creek and eventually tie into Scott County.

As the area for the proposed waterline development was presented, questions were raised about the possibility of making water available to the Campbell Highlands community. Residents of the gated community have made repeated appeals to the commission for relief with their water situation.

Mike Bethuram, Jellico Utilities manager, informed the group that the waterlines would be run to the property, but not beyond the gate.

While committee members agreed that being located on a private road prevented the utility from going onto the development to construct waterlines, Commissioner David Goins suggested a possible solution.

“If they can get their road situation in order for us to serve them I think we should do all we can to work with them,” Goins said, suggesting that the residents could request the road going into the property be made a county road.

Commissioner Rusty Orick and Eddie Troxell of LaFollette Utilities warned that such action opened the door for other developments to come knocking with similar requests.

“If you do that (take water into Campbell Highlands) for them the next developer that comes along is going to ask for the same thing,” Troxell said.

“I’m not against anyone having water, but it (Campbell Highlands) is outside our scope,” Orick added.

Goins asked utility representatives if economic stimulus funds discussed as a possibility with the new presidential administration, could be used to construct additional waterlines should it become available.

According to Troxell, if LaFollette Utilities were the recipient of any stimulus funding, the main concern would be system maintenance. 

“Our primary focus with any stimulus money will be to fix our old system that is really showing its age,” Troxell said.

Bethuram concurred that Jellico’s waterline infrastructure was also showing signs of age and in need of repairs.

Refocusing on the budget amendment discussed earlier in the meeting, commissioners voted in favor of presenting the amendment to the full commission for action.