After eight years, the city of Williamsburg now has the financial means to finish making repairs and improvements to its storm sewer system.
During a special meeting Monday afternoon, the city council authorized Mayor Roddy Harrison to signed the necessary paperwork for a $2,456,489 loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to make the needed repairs.
Harrison said that part of this money would be used to refinance bonds that paid for previous work and had a 4.75 percent interest rate. The new bonds will carry a 0.25 percent interest rate.
The remaining funds will go towards replacing a manhole at Firestone, a manhole on Siler Street, and manholes on North Fifth Street and South Second Street.
On March 24, 2009, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet identified four alleged violations, including: Failing to report a spill, failing to properly operate and maintain a facility, contributing to pollution of waters and degradation of surface waters.
The cabinet issued a notice of violation on April 2, 2009, and later that year entered into a seven-year agreed order with the city to make necessary repairs to the system. Previous repairs included replacing a pump station at Briar Creek Park and moving it outside the park in addition to replacing and upsizing the gravity sewer lines on 10th Street and in Briar Creek Park.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city neither admitted to nor denied that the alleged violations occurred. The problem was caused by infiltration of storm water into the sewer system and vice versa.
Harrison said the city was originally supposed to complete the work in seven years, but he applied for an extension in January that gave the city until 2018 to complete the work.
Harrison hopes work on the project will start in spring and that it should take about nine months to complete.
The reduced interest will allow the city to pay off the previous bonds sooner, and should keep the city from having to raise sewer rate as high as it had previously anticipated to pay for the repairs.
“My hope is the sewer rates won’t have to go up nearly as much,” Harrison added.
The council voted Monday to hire the engineering firm of KenVirons to supervise the work.
In addition, the city council voted to hire local attorney Kimberly Frost as the new city attorney for Williamsburg.
Harrison said that a total of seven lawyers applied for the position, and that the committee, who interviewed the finalists, thought the top two or three applicants were very close, but Wilson’s past experience as a city attorney and a district judge was the difference maker.
“She knows the town. She knows the law. Her experience put her over the top,” Harrison added.