Julia Roberts Goad
BELFRY, Ky. — Residents of the Belfry area are growing impatient in their wait for a sewage system, says District Six Magistrate Chris Harris, and are organizing to bring the issue into the legal arena.
A meeting has been scheduled for those who are interested in pursuing the matter. Harris told the Pike County Fiscal Court the meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 21, at the Belfry Courthouse at 6 p.m.
Harris said the project is long overdue, and places the blame on Mountain Water District.
“The basis for our complaint will be that citizens of the Belfry and Pond Creek area are being denied service due to the incompetence or negligence of the Mountain Water District Board,” Harris said “The Board’s failure to proceed with a project that has been funded for well over five years is causing many of the citizens of the service area to go without wastewater service.”
Harris said some residents of the Belfry area have had spend money on their current systems.
“People at Belfry have to unnecessarily spend money to repair and replace existing septic systems that may have fallen into disrepair,” he said.
Rhonda James chairs the Board of Directors at Mountain Water District. She told the Daily News the District hopes new technology will help move the project forward.
“We were looking at a piece of property for the Belfry plant, but were having complications in obtaining it,” James said. “But, now, with new technology, we are hoping to be able to use less property, and create a smaller footprint.”
James said MWD is working with Summit Engineering to find a suitable location for such a plant.
She said when the Belfry plant was first planned, it had a price tag of $7 to 8 million, but MWD was only allocated $800,000.
“We have been piecing together funding for several years,” James said. “The Fiscal Court just allocated us an addition $300,000, which brings us up to $2.1 million.”
But Harris said MWD needs to show some progress.
“They need to do something,” Magistrate Harris said. “If they don’t use the money we have, we won’t receive any more funding. It doesn’t take this long for projects in other places; we are just getting excuses.”
He said the meeting at Belfry will bring together people who want to see some project move forward.
“We are exploring the possibility of filing a complaint with the Public Service Commission,” Harris said. “It6 is their job to make sure funding that is for public use is spent properly, and its not benefitting the public sitting in Mountain Water’s bank account.”