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Water district might go under

Green Hills Water District can barely keep its head above water, and if the financial woes are not fixed soon, they could go under!

Harlan County officials are not sure if they can help but say they are working to do what they can.

Water district board members say they need funds to keep them afloat until March because dipping into other accounts for money could get them into trouble.

The members say all they can do is beg and plead for money to pay back a federal loan.

"This month we don't have 4,000 dollars to give to that loan. If we don't pay it by the 10th of January, we default that loan and then we go into I don't know what. We go into trouble," said Green Hills Water District Chairman Ralph Turner.

And by trouble, Turner means the water district would fold and Harlan County would step in and take over.

"We, the fiscal court, will see how we can assist them and enter a local agreement to keep their head above water until we can sort this all out," said Harlan County Judge Executive Joe Grieshop.

But Judge Grieshop says he is hesitant to put new tax dollars into what he calls "bad management."

Everyone agrees that the financial issues stem from customers not paying their water bills.

"We've got 80 customers that don't pay their bills and so we have to cut them off and pull their meters. That's part of our problem that we can't self-fund ourself," said Turner.

That is why water district board members are asking their customers to pay their water bills.

No matter the outcome, officials promise to get customers the water they pay for.

"People will never go without water unless it's an emergency. We'll find a way to get that water to those people," said Harlan County Magistrate Jonathan Pope.

A fiscal court meeting on Tuesday might have more answers and hopefully solutions.


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