GRADD water rates

Providence water customers could soon see increases to their water and sewer rates as the city looks to dig out from under its trouble waste water system.

The city currently faces a number of issues with the system, including an agreed order with the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) following a serious of violations that date back as far as 2013. Many of those violations were caused by storm water infiltration into the waste water lines, and could become costly as the city looks to repair the lines, as well construct an overflow basin.

Mayor Doug Hammers has been working both with the Green River Area Development District and Nashville-based HMB Professional Engineers, Inc., the newly hired engineering firm that will oversee the development of repairs and updates.

Because the city is looking to fund the project through grants, city officials will have their hands tied when it comes to water and sewer rate adjustments. In circumstances where state and federal funds are used on local utility projects, the government normally requires the provider to increase their rates in order to assure that the city can afford upkeep on the project going forward.

"I know Providence has always prided itself on keeping our utility rates down, but we will eventually have to raise our rates," Hammers told the council last week.

At $15.67 for the first 2,000 gallons, Providence's are in the lower half of water rates in the GRADD region. The

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lowest belongs to the city of Uniontown, where customers pay just $9.71 for the first 2,000 gallons. The highest belonged to the city of Island, where customers pay $29.97.

The city's water rates are currently the lowest in Webster County, coming in considerably lower than Sebree ($21.85), Dixon ($22.00), Slaughters ($23.90) and Clay ($25.50).

Providence's sewer rates have not been raised since 1991, and the water rates haven't been increased since 2013.

In other business, the council voted to approve the second reading of the city's new model procurement ordinance. That change will align the city's purchasing method with that of state law. The city can now spend up to $30,000 before it is required to bid out goods and services.

The council voted to award a new paving bid to Scotty's Contracting and Stone. The company bid $75 per ton on surface material, $72 per ton on binder material and $70 per ton on base material. That bid was lower than that of Providence Paving, who has held the contract with the city for several years. Providence Paving bid $76 per ton on all material.

Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or matt@journalenterprise.com.