Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Water compromise pondered

Florence, Boone could save money in deal on Longbranch

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - Florence City Council will consider a new proposal tonight that could end the argument over who will bring water to residents on Longbranch Road.

For years, the city and Boone County have been at odds over who will serve the 22 houses on Longbranch in unincorporated Boone County.

The residents don't want to annex into Florence, but they want public water service.

A Florence water line runs in front of their homes, while a Boone Water District line is still on the drawing board.

Now Florence and Boone officials are trying to reach a compromise that would save them both money - and bring the residents water.

Under the latest proposal from Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore that was discussed at Monday's Boone Water District Board meeting, Florence and Boone County would share Florence's water line on Longbranch with "flip/flop" meters recording whether city or county water is flowing through the line.

The residents could tap into the water line without annexing or paying a $25-per month surcharge, as Florence had proposed.

The county would build a water line from Orleans Road, where the Florence water line ends, to U.S. 42. Florence's proposal would not have allowed the county to build any more lines in the area.

"The most important issue to me at this point is the balance of Longbranch," Moore said. "That's the biggest difference we have from Florence's last proposal and our proposal today, is us installing the rest of that line."

Sharing the Florence line would save Boone Water $342,000 because the water district would not have to build a parallel line.

The plan would benefit both systems because it would give Boone Water a way to add a connection to its Pleasant Valley Meadows line and allow Florence to connect to its Farmview subdivision line, a $292,000 savings.

Under both proposals, only residential taps up to 1 inch would be allowed off the Florence line.

If an agreement can't be reached, Boone Water will build a $700,000 water line from Kroth Lane to U.S. 42.

Florence City Council will take up the proposal tonight, Mayor Diane Whalen said.

The Boone Water District Board would make the decision on an agreement.

"The Fiscal Court says it's not their decision to make, it's the Boone Water District decision to make, but the recommendations are going to come from Fiscal Court," Whalen said.

"And, obviously, no matter how hard we try to separate politics from any of it, it's here."


E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com

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