Fiscal Court approves Burg water project

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By Geoff Hamill

Fredericktown residents hopefully will not have to drink orange, rust-flavored water for much longer. The City of Bardstown water utility provides water to the Burg and plans to replace aging metal water pipes with PVC pipes this summer. But the utility needs permission from the Washington County government to excavate across roads in three places. The Washington County Fiscal Court considered the issue during its meeting Monday morning.
“Those water lines in the Burg were installed many years ago by a local benevolent citizen,” said County Judge John Settles. “That water line system was taken over by the City of Bardstown several years ago. They are old – a lot of them are cast iron and some of them are galvanized pipe. They are very low water pressure and the water is off-color. The City of Bardstown is proposing to replace all the water lines in Fredericktown.”
Settles said the Bardstown utility wants to lay new pipe without disturbing old lines and therefore, not disrupt water service. The three requested road cuts are located in the vicinity of 555 Fredericktown Road, 306 Fredericktown Road, and on Connor Road at the Holy Trinity Church.
The Judge said Bardstown Water is ready to get started on the project.
“This is water service for our constituents, for citizens of Washington County,” he said. “We have to decide if we want to allow them to do that. Of course, if we don’t they’ll have to redesign the project. I don’t know if it would kill the project, but it could. They actually wanted to start today. We told them they had to hold up for approval.”
Magistrate Greg Simms suggested giving the Washington County water utility an opportunity to take over the system.
“It might be in Washington County’s best interest just to have that line in the county,” he said.
Council voted 5-0 to allow the Bardstown utility to make the necessary road cuts to build the water upgrade project, with the contingency that the Washington County water utility does not want to take over the Fredericktown water system. Magistrate Hal Goode was not present.
Fiscal Court considered upgrades to its ethics code and a new ethics committee. County Attorney Hamilton Simms said nothing in the current code required changes, but that Fiscal Court could make changes as it saw fit. No changes were proposed.
Settles appointed a three-person ethics committee composed of George Graves, Patricia Gabhart and Gus Cooper. The Judge requested Fiscal Court approval of the appointments. The magistrates approved the committee appointments by a 5-0 vote.
Due to the recent retirement of Museum Director Julie Jones, Fiscal Court considered hiring a new director. Settles said three applications had been received and the hiring committee had selected Lena Russell to fill the position. The hiring committee was composed of Settles, Magistrate Benjamin Settles and Cathy Elliot. Fiscal Court approved the hiring by a 5-0 vote.
Fiscal Court approved annual audits of the County Clerk’s Office and the Fiscal Court, which showed no discrepancies. Lexington CPA firm Dean, Dorton, Allen, Ford conducted the Fiscal Court audit. The state Auditor of Public Accounts conducted the County Clerk audit.
Fiscal Court deferred action on a county vehicle smoking policy. Judge Settles said he would draft options for review at the next meeting.
The next Fiscal Court meeting is scheduled for July 26. A planning commission meeting is scheduled for July 16 at 7 p.m.