Meeting held for Green Hills Water District to discuss concerns, set record straight

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Dozens of people came out to hear the future of the Green Hills Water District.

Because of several rumors of unaccounted grants and a loan reported by other media outlets, people wanted to hear what that meant for them.

Board chairman Ralph Turner said either rates would have to go up or the district would be consolidated. Turner said mismanagement of money in the past has caused problems, along with late bill payments and other issues which caused the district to fall behind. he also wanted to address the rumors of missing money from the 1990's which was mentioned in a recent article in the Harlan Daily Enterprise.

"We as a board people have not asked the state troopers to do an investigation," said Turner.
"I have not talked to anyone about this, I have called people in from the water department and stuff to fine and knowledge us about all these accusations going on as a water district and we have found things that are not true with missing money and stuff like that."

Turner said it was "a big misunderstanding" with all of the missing money. He said will agree some of the money for the Green Hills Water District was moved around.

County Judge Executive Joe Grieshop said he is not concerned about the 1993 rural grant mentioned in the enterprise.

"There was some questions about that I don't question that," said Grieshop.
"Because those things are very carefully watched and you had to spend the money according to the plan and you had to do draws on that money and it was probably spent."

Grieshop continued that the meeting was more for members of the public to understand that the past board members did not charge them enough. The district has owed money to Pineville where the water comes from and failed to raise rates in the past.

"I think the issue here is lying more with the management, people not paying their water bills, leaks, those kind of management issues," said Grieshop.

“We come out for people to show us how they feel,” said Jonathan Pope, Magistrate for District 1 of Harlan County.
“They showed us some frustrations that's very healthy, everybody needs this it is good for the community for people to get together and tell us how they feel.”

Turner said there is no way they can hold on to the water district unless a change is made. He says a $5 per pump increase will be a temporary fix, but an $11 increase would be needed to ensure safe and clean water for everyone.

The order in which the water is being turned on depends on where the people live because of how the system works. It was clear that none of the residents wanted to consolidate the district and no on objected to a rate increase. Those who do not pay their bills on time cause problems for those who do because the water is bought from Pineville and the late fees assessed to the companies were not being passed down to the customers.

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