Water utility's future still in doubt

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Russellville's water utility's future is still in doubt following this month's town council meeting Wednesday evening.

The water tower is still in disrepair. The inside of the tower is rusty and the board members are in negotiations with companies to get bids for repainting it. However, President Don Reddish also mentioned after speaking with communities who have sold off their water utilities to larger companies like American Water, that he is considering that avenue.

"I think we're in over our heads on this," Reddish said. "We spent around $100,000 last year on the tower, and we're looking to spend near that again this year."

Water Utility Manager Mike Varvel was asked what he believed was the best route. Varvel said even though he is shooting himself in the foot to say so, selling off the utility is probably the most viable option.

"We just really can't afford this anymore. And with the new ground water tax coming into play, it will make it that much harder," Varvel said.

The decision to set up a preliminary meeting with American Water was made. The town council believes this will help them out a great deal, as well as lowering water costs for residents of the town.

"This isn't something that happens overnight, though," Reddish said. "We're still going to have to consider looking into getting the water tower repaired in the meantime."

Other companies were also discussed including Reelsville Water Company, which just put in a $4 million dollar pump station. Once the initial talks with the companies are conducted, the town will be invited to a meeting to hear what the companies have to say.

The council also heard from concerned residents involving a topic that was brought up last week. Some residents are complaining about people speeding through town where children are present and known to run into the road. Reddish has spoken with the parents of the kids to try to alleviate the situation. Town Marshall Mike Biggs also said they are stepping up patrols and enforcing the speed limit whenever possible.

Lastly, Russellville will have some of their potholes and roads fixed. They will bring in 20 tons of rock to fix holes on corners and alleyways. Reddish said this wouldn't fix the problem, but any help they can get they will take.

Russellville Town Council meets regularly the third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. Their next scheduled meeting is set for July 16.

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