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Coal Grove proposing new fee

COAL GROVE — The Coal Grove Village Council had its first reading of a proposal to add a $5 user fee to each utility customer’s bill on Tuesday.

The council said the fee would be used to pay back an EPA loan that they are applying for to fix water lines and to make water plant upgrades.

“The EPA won’t give out loans unless they know they’ll get their money back,” said Mayor Larry McDaniel.

Clerk Deborah Fields said that the village would be awarded $490,000 if they can complete the application process with something in place to show that the money could be repaid.

According to Fields, 40 percent of the $490,000 would be a grant, while the other 60 percent is a loan. The loan would be a 30-year loan with a 2 percent interest rate.

“We’ve got to have something in place,” Fields said. “Our water fund is very low. It takes everything that comes in to operate.”

The water line that would be replaced with the stimulus money is over 40 years old and full of holes, said Fields.

Council member Bob Markins said that the current, quarter-inch line that runs from the water plant to the water tank would be replaced with a more durable one-inch line.

He said that the new water line would be made for higher pressure and would hold up to more abuse before rupturing.

“You can either Band-Aid it or fix it right,” said Markins. “A Band-Aid will be more expensive in the long run.”

The current water lines are compromised with many holes and leaks, said the council.

“We can’t keep up with the leaks,” said Markins.

The frequent leaks and breaks result in boil water advisories. The most recent was issued last Wednesday after a water main break, and wasn’t lifted until Tuesday.

The council will have two more readings on the proposed fee before it may be passed. The next meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 and 19 at the Village Hall.