01/03/07 — Drainage, sewer problems discussed at Pikeville meeting

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Drainage, sewer problems discussed at Pikeville meeting

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 3, 2007 1:49 PM

Sewer and drainage issues topped the Pikeville Board of Commissioners' agenda Tuesday night, with several improvement projects planned across the town.

Town Administrator Bob Buchanan said many of Pikeville's manholes have been patched up over the past few weeks and about 10 remain to be fixed. Workers were delayed because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, but the repairs should be completed soon.

Town employees will also clear out some drainage ditches across town because of the flooding problems caused when they back up. Resident Tim Smith, who owns a home near St. Joseph Methodist Church, told the commissioners that flooding has become a real problem in the past year.

When water builds up, it leaks under the house and floods the home's heating system, Smith said. Nearly every time it rains, Smith is forced to pay repair costs on the heating unit, he added.

Even if he built a wall around his house, the floodwaters would affect another house in the neighborhood, Smith said. But he added that the water might not build up as much if nearby drainage ditches were cleaned out.

"I don't dare tell the town what to do, but something needs to be done," Smith said.

Buchanan said he has already given the order to clean out several of the drainage ditches near Smith's home, but Town Commissioner Johnny Weaver said more needs to be done.

The board has discussed cleaning out all of the town's drainage ditches for the past three years, but Weaver said a solution has never been reached. If something is to be done, it needs to be done this year, he added.

But Town Commissioner Lyman Galloway said all of the drainage ditches in town limits are on private property. Since the town has voluntarily cleaned out those ditches before, he said the town should have some say in how they are managed.

"The ditches are not a garbage dump and they're not fire pits. We have to keep them clean," Galloway said.

Since the flooding and heating unit damage caused Smith's electric bill to spike, Smith asked the commissioners to consider adjusting his electric bill to a more reasonable price.

Town ordinances allow the commissioners to adjust water and sewer bills because of leaks, but Buchanan said those ordinances don't allow the commissioners to adjust an electric bill. He added that he would not want to set a precedent by adjusting Smith's bill because of flooding, but the board granted Buchanan the option of investigating the issue and making a decision at his discretion.

In other business, resident Perry Jones completed his Waste Water II certification. The town previously contracted out to a private company to handle wastewater samples. Now, Jones can do that himself.

The board will hold a park committee meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.