• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Council approves $18.4 million for sewage plant

The Versailles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to award a contract for the city's wastewater treatment plant renovation and expansion to a low-bidding Lawrenceburg company for $18,414,000. The bids ranged as high as $22,989,000, and Public Works Director Bart Miller said the expenditure will be the single largest capital project in city history. Miller told the council that Smith Contractors' construction of the city's water treatment plant in 2005 went very well, and that city officials have recommended the company to others. To pay for the upgrade, water rates were raised by 18.5 percent in February of last year, this year and next year. A public meeting on the issue was held in December of 2015. In a news release, Miller said the project will be the first major upgrade and expansion of the city's wastewater plant, located on Kentucky Avenue, since 1992. The capacity and technological life span of a wastewater plant is typically 20 years. The new plant will increase capacity from three million to four-and-a-half million gallons a day, and the modernized sewage treatment process will use ultraviolet disinfection rather than chlorine gas. The work will begin around July 1 and is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2019. New jobs The council unanimously approved an ordinance creating the position of assistant fire chief. Chief Brian Wainscott said the ordinance was necessary in order for the person to be eligible for state hazardous duty retirement pay. The council also heard first reading of an ordinance creating the position of events coordinator, a nine-months-a-year job organizing and implementing special events ranging from the 4th of July festivities to the Christmas Parade. Mayor Brian Traugott said salaries for both positions will be included in his budget proposal, which will be presented during the May 16council meeting. Demolition The council unanimously approved low bids of $6,000 each by Grubbs Excavating of Versailles for the demolition of condemned houses at 209 and 213 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Asked by City Council Member Ann Miller when the work would begin, Traugott said, "Not soon enough." Bids The council unanimously approved a payment of $9,721 to Hach, a Colorado company, for three pieces of equipment at the city's water plant that were damaged by a recent lightning strike. Miller said insurance will cover the bulk of the cost of the equipment. The council also unanimously approved a low bid of $6,747 by Clark Electric for a new motor for a post-aeration pump at the wastewater treatment plant. Miller said the pump was installed in 1992, during the last upgrade, and will be used for the next two-and-a-half years until the plant's renovation and expansion is finished. At that point, the pump could be sold. Water tap The council unanimously approved a motion allowing the Woodford Northeast Water District to use a water tap installed by the city for More Than A Bakery. In March, city officials learned that despite annexing the land off Big Sink Road to help lure the plant, state law mandated that the water provider already serving the area remain the provider. Council Member Ken Kerkhoff said the company will benefit from the slightly lower rate offered by the water district. Initially, Traugott said he hoped a deal could be struck in which the water district - which uses water from the city of Versailles - would pay the city back for the $3,395 it spent to install the water tap. That deal was not reached, Kerkhoff said. Letters of credit At the end of the meeting, Traugott said he wanted to clarify comments made to The Sun after the last city council meeting regarding the city's letters of credit for the Wooldridge Gardens subdivision. Traugott said he may have unfairly portrayed Citizens Commerce Bank, which issued the letter. "I wanted to clarify that the developer is the one that's responsible for the letters of credit and that is the one we are pursuing. I was overeager in my defense of the taxpayer, because I didn't want the city to be left holding the bag," Traugott said. Services websites Traugott said two websites (www.woodford.care and www.versailles.care) that serve as portals for a list of local resources are up and running.

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