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Benham pays off debt to KU after falling behind for a year

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

The City of Benham has been behind on their power bill payments for about a year now, and lately they've been feeling the pressure from Kentucky Utilities to start paying off their debt.

It all started one year ago when Benham's power board crashed.

The city had to buy all new computers and software for the power board. They could not send out power bills which caused the city to fall behind in payments to Kentucky Utilities.

As pressure started mounting from KU, Benham was ready to turn the electrical system over to KU.

After the city council voted, it was up to the mayor whether to keep the power board built with coal money or let KU take over.

"I got to thinking about all the coal miners here in our community, my father being one of them, I just couldn't do it," said Benham Mayor John Dodd.

So the mayor made some calls, and before long he found a check in his mail.

"We ended up getting a $100,000 grant from the Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation," said Mayor Dodd.

The mayor says if they did not receive that $100,000 check to pay off the bill, they would have had to borrow the money.

"I possibly could have had a heart attack because i was so elated and so happy," said Mayor Dodd.

A simple piece of paper that allowed Benham to completely pay their debt to KU and keep moving forward.

None of the grant money went directly to the city. It all went to pay off the debt and the rest went in the escrow account.

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