Russellville Councilman Bill Decker gave a report to his fellow council members Tuesday evening about a recent meeting he attended in January of the Logan Todd Regional Water Commission (LTRWC). Decker serves on the board as the Russellville city representative.
LTRWC, which gets its water from the Cumberland River and processes it at a state-of-the-art facility in Guthrie, acts as a wholesaler while the individual water districts and municipalities- including the City of Russellville- act as retailers. All water in Logan County comes from LTRWC.
The councilman said the Commission was still actively pursuing other entities to serve as a water source. Three of those for sure include Springfield, Clarksville and Fort Campbell, all in Tennessee. “They are all showing interest, and they’ve all got a need,” said Decker. “The Commission is at the top of a couple of their lists.”
Logan Todd customers were hit with news of an increase several weeks ago of 8 cents per thousand gallons to begin March 1 of this year. The City of Russellville chose not to pass the increase onto its customers, but were vocal in their disapproval with the increase.
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton told his council at a previous meeting that the city of Russellville was fortunate and because of being better stewards, could absorb the increase. Councilwoman Pat Bell said she felt the Logan Todd Regional Water Commission needed to get out there and find additional customers, which would drive down costs of the water. Even Councilman Decker had said, “Let’s hope that Logan Todd will be able to take a lesson and do their own evaluation as we have and follow that lead, and maybe they can trim some cost to help eat some of these rate increases.”
Decker was more of an advocate for the Commission at Tuesday’s meeting saying he felt the entity was trying. He said he didn’t know how long it would be before they get it all worked out, because these things don’t just happen overnight, but they are pursuing it.
“We’ve got some hope, if we can get any of them (Springfield, Clarksville or Fort Campbell), it would be a nice boost to maybe lowering water rates eventually, or nothing else sustaining the water rates that we’ve got,” said Decker.
One of the other questions Decker said he asked the Commission was if this last rate increase was going to sustain the entity for a while. He said he was told it would.
“They are also looking at working with the Tennessee governmental officials,” Decker announced. He said Tennessee taxes through utilities and since the water comes out of Tennessee, Logan Todd is taxed with a Tennessee tax. “They have heard of a lobbying group that’s working with the Tennessee officials and they are trying to get something done about that.”
The councilman said he thinks the Commission is arguing that they are a Kentucky facility so why are they being taxed in Tennessee? He said if they were able to beat that tax it would save several thousand dollars a year.
Decker said the Commission is still trying to look at doing some refinancing somewhere, but he doesn’t think that’s going to happen because the Commission is probably in better shape fanatically as far as the financing they’ve already got.
“I’ll keep the council informed,” said Decker.