MOUNT VERNON — Water and wastewater issues were on the agenda for Thursday morning’s meetings of the Knox County Board of Commissioners. Knox County Water and Wastewater Superintendent Ron Simpson met the officials first to discuss a number of projects before Danville farmer Mike Lemmons joined them to discuss the potential impact of wastewater lines in Millwood on his property.
Simpson said that he had encountered some public confusion regarding the water and wastewater tapping and impact fees for a potential housing development just off Barry Road near Apple Valley, long known as The Reserves. The developers requested exemption from the fees. Simpson said that some people had gotten the impression that the fees were $8,000 per house. The quoted fees were, in fact, only $8,000 per building in situations where two condominiums were to be located in one building. Fees would thus be roughly $4,000 per family unit, the same rate that is charged for any house built in the county.
“Does anyone think they could dig a well and install a leach bed for $4,000?” Commissioner Allen Stockberger asked. He said that for the purposes of discussion he would put forth the idea of a single master meter being placed leading into the development, thus avoiding separate taps and leaving the monitoring, tapping, billing and fair distribution of water up to the housing development’s association.
“From the county’s perspective, our liability would end at the master meter and its attached backflow prevention equipment,” Stockberger said.
Simpson’s concerns were that water rationing issues were likely to arise in an association-controlled scenario. He was also concerned that having a lack of control over the project would lead to massive maintenance compatibility problems if the association ever dissolves, forcing the county to come in and take over the wastewater system, as has occurred in other situations, such as the Countryside Manor development in Centerburg. He was also concerned that his department would lose revenue.
A further meeting with the developers will be held Monday.
Mike Lemmons then arrived to talk about the sewer system the commissioners want to place running across Lemmons’ grain mill property in Millwood to reach the railroad bed right-of-way. Lemmons was concerned about the possible future use of the right-of-way.
“Is there going to be a bike path through there?” Lemmons said.
“This board has no intention of putting a bike path there,” Stockberger replied.
“The board members can change in the future,” Lemmons said.
“I’m not sure there’s anything we can do about that,” Stockberger said. Lemmons cited problems he had a few years ago with children walking on the railroad bed from Camp Millwood and throwing rocks at his bins and buildings. He wasn’t eager to see a situation that would put lots of people adjacent to his properties.
Commissioner Robert Wise attempted to assure him, explaining that the majority of constituents he has talked with think the county has enough trails at this time.
“I don’t believe there will be a trail there in our lifetimes,” Wise said. Stockberger said that the county has no money whatsoever slated for bike trails in 2010.
Lemmons asked if fellow impacted landowner Carolin Hahnemann was fighting the plan. Stockberger said that it was his understanding that Hahnemann had retained a surveyor to examine the parcels of property defined as having been the railroad’s.
“If a bike path went through there, would it be fenced?” Lemmons asked. Wise said that if any such plan came to pass, that Lemmons could request fencing to protect his property as part of his negotiations with the county.
Lemmons and the commissioners then went into executive sessions to discuss the county possibly leasing a small piece of land from Lemmons for a pump transfer station for the Millwood wastewater system.