Officials are trying to develop a plan to prevent electricity from being cut off to the treatment plant in Sal yersville that supplies water to thousands of people in the city and Magoffin County.
Kentucky Power notified city and state officials last week that it would cut off electricity to the Salyersville water and sewer systems on Friday unless it received payment on bills that have been overdue for months. The total due is $86,905, Salyersville Mayor James "Pete" Shepherd said.
"It's bad, but I'm going to fix it," Shepherd said Tuesday.
There has been a flurry of activity — including the discussion of payment plans — in recent days to figure out how to avoid a shutdown at the water and sewer plants and make needed fixes, Shepherd and Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles "Doc" Hardin said.
Shepherd said he was not sure the water system could afford a plan presented by Kentucky Power's parent company, American Electric Power. He was crunching numbers Tuesday.
Ron Robinson, a spokesman for Kentucky Power, said that the company had an obligation to collect what customers owed, but that it wanted to work with the city.
Robinson said shutting off power to Salyersville's water supplier "would be the last thing we would want to do."
To which Shepherd said, "I'm banking on that."
The water service serves 1,100 homes and businesses in Salyersville and sells water to the county water district, which serves about 3,500 homes and businesses.
Hardin said the county water district would help the city pay the overdue bills, with support from the county fiscal court if necessary.
"The people of Salyersville and Magoffin County are not going to be without water because of this bill," Hardin vowed Tuesday. "We're going to have service."
Shepherd said the debt to Kentucky Power — and unpaid bills to some other vendors — was waiting for him when he took office three months ago. Shepherd succeeded Stanley Howard, who resigned.
Shepherd said the overdue bills go back months. For whatever reason, he said, it would appear the water system just didn't pay its bills.