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Georgetown provides pool relief

July 01, 2015
During a marathon meeting held on June 15, the Georgetown Town Council voted to provide summer relief to almost a dozen community members as the temperatures rise and more and more people begin filling their pools for the season.

The relief, which has some prerequisites, will give those with abnormally high water usage from filling pools and hot tubs, washing cars and watering lawns some relief on the sewer portion of their bill. Also available to the community is what is colloquially known as a 'bib meter.'

A bib meter is a small meter that attaches to the water source in order to measure water expenditures adequately and can be rented from the town hall for one-time usage or for an entire season.

Steve Webb, who lives in Georgetown but is an Edwardsville Water customer while being on the Georgetown sewer system, inquired about the relief that customers in his situation can receive.

"What was wrong with the way we used to do things?" he asked. "I can't afford any more $480 bills."

In Webb's case, he's spent money on property updates — intricate lawn irrigation system, lawn repair and hot tub — he no longer can use if the town doesn't provide relief on his sewer rates.

Webb was informed by his water company and was under the impression that he was unable to utilize a bib meter as it is not legal to have a meter installed on the system of a separate company.

"It's not a cut-and-dry situation," Gary Smith, the council's president, said of the changes to the summer relief ordinance. "There's going to be things come up with this ordinance, like tonight, that we're going to have to deal with."

After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that the board would have to consider instances like Webb's on a case-by-case basis but that it could figure his relief based upon his average sewer bill from the previous months.

"I would like to make an exception for all these folks," Counciman Jim Tripure said of those in Webb's situation.

The almost four-hour meeting didn't just cover summer relief programs, it also covered a wide array of town projects that included a discussion on the remedial action on the storm water drainage along the west side of Georgetown, near the softball fields.

Brought to the table by Councilwoman Kathy Haller, the issue was voted upon last month, though the decision wasn't to her satisfaction.

During the discussion, Councilman Chris Loop laid out town engineer Bob Woosley's plan for stopping the erosion in the area and making the area safe. Woosley was unable to attend the meeting.

According to Woosley and Loop, the town can do one of two things: it can fill in the problem areas with large basketball-sized rocks and dirt to keep the area from washing out and to keep the water from becoming stagnant and pooling — causing a safety risk — for $2,000, or it can spend substantially more on a solution that inserts a culvert to completely divert the water. The bill for the latter comes out to around $12,000.

"How long do you we expect this to last?" Councilwoman Patti Denison asked.

Loop assured the council that, according to Woosley, adding rock and applying the fixes laid out in his plan would alleviate the stormwater issue.

"If we can take this out of gaming (funds), I think we should do this," Denison said. "We have a lot of ballplayers that come through and a lot of kids that play in the area."

After a contentious discussion, the council voted to withdraw the vote from last month to spend $2,000 on the fix — with a vote of 4-0-1 (Loop abstained) — and to spend the $12,000 to create a more permanent fix — 4-0-1 (Loop abstained).

While the topic of water, rates and fixes was high on the agenda for the evening, there were also reports from Police Chief Dennis Kunkle. He said there have been two narcotics arrests as well as 11 misdemeanors in the last month.

The Georgetown Police Department has also partnered with the Floyd County Sheriff's Department to conduct Operation Pull-Over. This initiative focuses on preventing accidents before they happen by paying special attention to unsafe drivers.

"It's going really well," Kunkle said. "Floyd County has been a really great partner, and we just want to remind everyone don't speed."

The next meeting of the Georgetown Town Council will be July 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall.

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