WKYT Investigates: More Georgetown water woes

WKYT sits down with the outgoing mayor, as he prepares to pass on a few ongoing problems.
WKYT Investigates: More Georgetown water woes
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 3:55 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The state’s fastest growing county continues to have growing pains. Scott County’s infrastructure has been the topic of debate the last few years. Georgetown city leaders are currently weighing options to expand their water and wastewater lines, and keep costs to residents low.

The outgoing mayor is spending his final weeks in office working closely with commissioners to try and figure out how to deal with the infrastructure problems.

“Not in my wildest dreams or nightmares did I expect this type of controversy and this timing to land right now,” said Mayor Tom Prather. “We are not on schedule and we are not under budget.”

Mayor Tom Prather blames four things. He says the first problem, was an engineering mistake were made during the expansion.

“Much of the concrete structures that we had built in the first six months of construction were not adequate. They did not have adeqeuate rebarb or adequate concrete. All of that had to be redesigned and now weve started construction on that redesign but that project is now a 65 million dollar project so the cost went up significantly,” he noted. There was also a mathematical flaw made with tax collection. Inflation hit the water treatment business, and essential projects tore into the budget. The city’s original solution, raising water rates 61%, didn’t float with most residents.

“I’ve lived in Scott County for 23 years and I’ve never had this much of a water hike,” said Celeste Crowley. She started fighting the rate hike when she met a woman at Kroger who couldn’t afford cat food.

“She was going to have to get rid of her cat, because she was facing the water bill and all the expenses of electricity had gone up and she was going to have to get rid of her pet because of this and she was on a fixed income so therefore I just got angry, and I took initiative and went and tried to help,” Crowley said. She was one of many who spoke against the rate hike at a recent council meeting. The uproar forced the mayor and council to consider a different plan - one that raises rates 19% in March of next year.

Mayor Prather says it’ll delay completion of the wastewater treatment plant expansion by about six months. The incoming mayor and council will vote on the new rate hike in the new year.