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G'town ponders rate increase

Outside company to take over garbage service

September 05, 2012
The Georgetown Town Council met on Aug. 20 to hear updates on a rate study that is being conducted for the water utility and to discuss sanitation services for the town.

The council is considering an increase to the water utility fees. At present, it will continue the rate study. Jim Reynolds, public works director, said there are three options for consideration.

The council's decision will be to increase rates by the amount that is being passed on by the supplier or to go ahead and include the necessary capital improvement over a five- or 10-year period.

Reynolds said the average consumer uses about 4,000 gallons per month at a rate of $42.99. The minimum increase under one option of the plan would be $19.68, making the monthly bill $62.67.

The other two proposals call for a five-year capital improvement plan which would increase monthly bills $26.56 and a 10-year plan which ups monthly rates for average users by $21.32.

The minimum rate increase would cover the rate increases from Georgetown's supplier, Ramsey Water Co.

Capital improvement plans include installation of Variable Frequency Drives on existing booster pumps, upgrades, including leak detection and Geographic Information System devices, and fire hydrants.

A planned vote was slated for Sept. 4.

In another matter, the council approved a proposal, presented by Reynolds and council members Patti Denison and Kathy Haller, to hire Ecotech LLC for garbage and recycling pickup for its residents.

The work previously completed by town employees was halted due to the need for a new sanitation truck. At the expense of almost $250,000 and an increase in workman's compensation costs, the town decided it would be more cost effective to contract the work out.

Of the three companies considered, New Albany City Boys, Ecotech and Sweet Land, Ecotech was chosen by a 4-1 vote (Mike Mills against). However, the council then voted 5-0 to waive signing the contract until its Sept. 4 meeting.

At present, residents pay $15 a month, and commercial customers pay $30 per month. Rates will not increase, and service will include garbage, recycling and yard waste removal.

Denison was one of Ecotech's biggest supporters because of its size. She believed that, if there was a problem with the trucks, Ecotech would be able to provide timely back-up.

Denison, Haller and Reynolds participated on a committee to study bids from the various companies.

Reynolds said there will be no interruption of service and the town will send letters of notice to customers to notify them of the changes.

During his report, Police Chief Dennis Kunkel told the council that his department has taken around $4,000 worth of narcotics off the streets in the last month following arrests of individuals involved in a growing operation.

Kunkel said his department continues to fight the drug problem throughout the town and county, and he urged anyone who witnesses suspicious activity to call the police department at 951-2508. Callers, he added, may remain anonymous, but, with the growing prevalence of drug use in the area, it is important for residents to take an active role in reporting any uncommon activity they may witness.

The department also has noticed an increase in traffic crashes and would like to pursue the option of installing a stoplight at Copperfield Drive. Police will be patrolling S.R. 64 more heavily and issuing more tickets in an attempt to slow down drivers.

In other police-related news, the town will switch to the statewide radio system. The Floyd County Sheriff's Department worked on a grant to do so. The Georgetown department received an additional grant for electronic ticket equipment.

Kunkel also reported on the recent National Night Out festivities, a police-department community awareness night, and said the turnout was as good as he had hoped.

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