Future of Salyersville Water Works still unclear

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

Some people in Magoffin County are not happy about recent decisions made by the water board.

The water district has been fighting budget problems for several months. They brought in a management group to help get them get back on track, but some say they are wasting more money and do not need outsiders to run the plant.

Utility Management Group (UMG) has been running Salyersville Water District for several months trying to fix budget problems and prevent a state takeover.

UMG's contract ends August 7th, and the water board has been trying to decide what is next.

"We're not playing politics here. We're playing to people's lives, and we're trying to do the best for our employees. We're trying to do the best for our county and our city," said Water Board Chairman Johnnie Lovely.

The board accepted two bids for new management, one from UMG and one from a local group, but in Tuesday's meeting they changed their minds.

The water board made a motion to extend UMG's contract temporarily and throw out the other bids, but some people say UMG should not be there at all and that they have not accomplished anything in the time they have been there.

"We have qualified people that work here. They have got certifications, so let us handle it ourselves. We don't need outsiders taking over," said Jaynee May who lives in Salyersville.

But UMG officials say they never meant to upset anyone.

"UMG does not want to be perceived as forcing ourselves on Salyersville or being here against anybody's will," said Bob Meyer with UMG.

Their current plan is to stay only until their current projects are finished, probably no longer than three months.

"I have lost sleep for a month over this or over studying what I should do," said Lovely.

May says she has some ideas.

"Increase your water a little bit. Have the increase, but quit giving them $4500 a month and let that $4500 a month go towards bills that we owe," she said.

For now the next steps for Salyersville water are still unclear.

The board plans to call a working session next week to extend UMG's contract. They say the end date on that contract is flexible.

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