Crile, along with eight other residents living along Jud Brazier Road, attended the December meeting of the Polk County Water Authority hoping to find a solution to a big problem: no water.
There are 15 families living in the area located near Esom Hill and they say their wells are going dry. Crile said their land once had a five-acre lake that is now gone; their well went dry Dec. 11.
“When you run the bath tub for your kids, what do you get?” said Crile. “Dirt.”
“I realize Polk County has grown over the past several years,” Crile told authority members, “but the west side of the county is going
Jud Brazier Road residents are looking to the Water Authority for help, and the authority contends that they are continuing to work with the county’s engineers and all parties involved to come up with a viable solution.
The Polk County Water Authority does not receive tax money and the authority is not mandated to provide county water to every homestead that requests it, explained authority chairman Melton Moss.
“There’s more to it than just running a line to a residence,” Moss explained. “There are requirements like water flow rate and pressure rates that we have to make sure we can meet before a line can be installed. Because we operate based only on the funds that we collect from customers, we have a tight budget. We have to base our decisions on what’s best for all residents.”
Residents argue that they have spent more than six years trying to get water along Jud Brazier Road.
During the meeting, residents stated that in 2007, they were promised water within six years and entered into a verbal agreement with the board that the authority would save $600,000 over that time to install pipes and other infrastructure.
Minutes from an October 2007 authority meeting show that the board unanimously approved a budget for special line requests, including the Jud Brazier area, with $10,000 to be set aside monthly and listed the Jud Brazier Road project as a priority.
In December 2008, the board voted to halt the monthly contribution to the project and in 2012, the board dissolved the special line extension altogether.
Minutes of the July 2012 meeting show that a balance of $62,323.48 was transferred to a new restricted line item account. The new line item account was to cover the cost of the Mulco Springs land purchase and any incidental costs associated with it, the minutes stated.
Crile told authority members the board should have kept its word to the residents.
“The big issue for me is that what was set aside for us was taken,” she said.
Moss said the authority would continue to work with the residents of Jud Brazier Road. “We are continuing to look at this situation,” Moss
said. “Residents who were there at the meeting last month will be contacted after the first of the year by the water authority and options will be discussed.”
In other business, the board heard a presentation about a high tech computerized billing system it is considering buying. The county commission is looking at the same system, according to Damron.
The board also heard from finance committee chairman Kenneth Duskey regarding the proposed 2013 budget.
Duskey said water sales declined 3.6 percent in 2012 and he expects another drop in 2013, which means an overall $313,000 revenue reduction.
Although Duskey said there was no concrete explanation for the drop in water use, he cited the rain over the summer and a drop in the housing market as possible reasons.
He said revenue from new customers is down $12,000 from last year.
Duskey proposed a two percent increase in the tiered water use for 2013 to make up the difference with the base rate remaining the same.
He also proposed an increase amount, $515,000, to go to salaries.
Duskey said $471,000 was budgeted last year, but admitted that was a mistake on his part and wasn’t enough.
Board members tabled budget discussion until next month.
Board members also approved a new policy from Damron about guests’ testimony before the board.
Along with the guidelines of respect and decorum, the policy states that no board member can make a commitment to anyone without the
consent of the entire board and that those involved in litigation will not receive a verbal answer from the board.
The board also recognized outgoing board member Larry Reynolds for his service and awarded him a plaque.