PRESTONSBURG Former Judge-Executive Paul Hunt Thompson paid a visit to the Floyd County Fiscal Court this past Friday in hopes of clearing up some points concerning Southern Water and Sewer District.
Southern has been in discussions in the last several months with county leaders, who have asked if the company can pay more or all on a bond issued during Thompsons tenure as top official.
The annual bond payment, which totals at $160,000, was initially set up so the county paid $60,000 each year and Southern made up the remaining $100,000.
Thompson explained Friday the origins of the bond and also moved to dispel rumors concerning the actual amount of the payment over the course of the next several years.
There has been a lot of talk about Southern Water and Sewer, especially with bonds, said Thompson, who addressed the fiscal court with several folders of documentation Friday. There were grants available and we took advantage of that and received millions of dollars for water extensions. All of this money was dedicated to this project and not one cent of this money was spent outside the boundaries of Southern Water and Sewer.
The total amount taken out for water and sewer grants early in Thompsons administration was $2.6 million that kick-started some $20 million in later grants and funding which resulted in making treated water available to approximately 99 percent of Floyd Countians. The first $2.6 million covered the first group of projects such as line installations, tank sites and pump stations, Thompson said.
In the past several months, floods and ice storms have pinched county resources, according to magistrates such as District 1s John Goble, who said he and others on the fiscal court had to start looking at where money could be found to continue county business. Southerns bond payment made it onto the radar, and officials have been discussing it since that time.
This countys suffered three floods and an ice storm and weve been looking to tighten our belts, Goble said Friday.
Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley said the fiscal court looking to Southern to become self-sufficient reflects back to the original plan when the company was first formed.
At one point it was the vision that Southern pay their bond payment, Bartley said. If they can do that, they should. If they cant, then the fiscal court will have to decide whether to step up.
The point was one Bartley has made often during discussions about Southerns bond payment issues in past court meetings.
A June 2005 refinancing of the bond insured the payments would not increase, Thompson said, but he told court members Friday that misinformation about that contract had been spread throughout the county.
Someone has been showing documents all over Floyd County showing a document that reflects five years of payments and saying its for one year, Thompson said. Whoever put that out there, it was misstated and misinformation.
The document Thompson referred to Friday was from a past county audit that showed the extended payment schedule for Southerns bond. It reflects the $100,000/ $60,000 split until the planned amount for 2014. At this point the payment, $330,000, is shown in five-year increments rather than one-year.
Thompson said this misled people to believe the countys payments would jump this much in a single year.