Several residents not paying water surcharges

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By William Carroll

The Taylorsville City Commission made decisions on a number of high priority issues May 6 ranging from water surcharges to advertising for a new police chief and everything in between.
The commission started their over three-hour meeting by taking care of a number of household items including minutes from the previous meetings and a report from Taylorsville Main Street, before moving into the meat of the meeting.
During the meeting it was discovered that several county residents are not paying surcharges relating to water. According to City Attorney John D. Dale Jr., several property owners who have recently acquired parcels are not paying water surcharges issued as part of the various phase projects. Dale said pursuant to the contracts for water services, the assessments are to “run with the land” meaning that such contracts were supposed to be placed in the chain of title so that future purchasers or those that acquire land through a death in the family or by other means, would have legal notice of the requirement to pay the assessment.
“Normally you don’t record those types of contracts,” Dale said.
However, he noted that in failing to record the contracts, it made it difficult for the city to make a new owner responsible for the surcharges.
Public Works Director Harold Compton said that the new owners aren’t signing up for water and are refusing to pay the surcharges.
“It is not that many,” Compton said. “Maybe like 20.”
The problem seemed to be of concern to Mayor Don Pay.
“How else are they to know of the requirements unless it is recorded?” Pay questioned. “That is information people should know.”
Dale suggested recording the contracts now against the properties in question, which would not require the current owners to pay, but would put any new owners on notice as to the requirement. It was unclear during the meeting if this is a countywide problem, as Dale focused only on the limited number of citizens who had refused to pay their assessments.
The commission also listened to a presentation from citizen Arnie Mueller regarding the “Stidger house” located at 102 Garrard St. Mueller urged the city to do something about the unsightly structure which was home to Felix Grundy Stidger, “the spy who saved the Union.”
Mueller suggested that the home could be renovated by the Spencer County Historical Society for around $50,000, which would make it possible to be used as a museum. Mueller pointed out that the ownership issues needed to be resolved by the city and urged the city to take the structure over.
“There is no way of doing it without getting tied up in litigation,” Dale said. “You have a couple of options, you could condemn it and tear it down, but that obviously wouldn’t save the structure or you could do an eminent domain action.”
Dale estimated that the cost to do such an action, including court costs and the cost to acquire the property would be in excess of $20,000, which would include approximately $20,000 for the property and $2,000 to $3,000 for litigation.
Pay and commission member Beverly Ingram said they thought the city had already approved such an action. Dale said that the commissioners had asked him to prepare such documentation but had never approved filing an action. Commissioners then unanimously voted to approve acquiring the home via eminent domain.
The commission also unanimously approved requesting specifications on the lights provided by Kentucky Utilities for Garrard Street and Main Cross for possible use on the new Blue Bridge project.
City Clerk Steve Biven said that the city had been approached by representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet regarding whether the city wanted to place lights upon the new bridge.
Compton said that KYTC would not place the lights on the bridge but would put the conduits for the lights in the bridge as part of the construction plans.
The commission also unanimously approved a first reading of the city’s new alcohol ordinance. Dale said that the current ordinance does not allow for Sunday sales and that the commissioners could modify the ordinance if they so chose prior to its passage. None of the members said anything regarding Sunday sales and Dale read the ordinance as previously written.
In other matter before the commission:
• Commissioners unanimously approved accepting Maddox and Associates of Fort Thomas as the city’s new auditor. Commissioners Ingram and Ellen Redmon and city staff met with two proposed auditors and Redmon said that Maddox and Associates gave the most impressive presentation.
• Commissioners approved advertising for a new police chief 5-0. According to current Chief Toby Lewis, he will determine his official date of retirement on May 22 when he meets with the state retirement board. Commissioners voted to perform a nationwide search pursuant to guidelines provided by the Kentucky League of Cities during a previous meeting.
• Commissioners also issued a symbolic vote, directed at the Spencer County Fiscal Court, to show the city’s support for the current Kentucky State Police dispatch/911 contract. In recent months, both Spencer County Sheriff Buddy Stump and County Judge Executive Bill Karrer have voiced concerns with the state contract and have stated their willingness to rebid the contract prior to its expiration on June 30.
• Biven said he has been in contact with city engineer Joe Sisler of Sisler and Maggard Engineering and that Sisler will soon have a cost estimate to repair deficiencies in the levee.