Monday, April 12, 2004

Water solution: new line

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE - The city and county are at an impasse in the fight over who will bring public water to about 22 homes in unincorporated Boone County.

The standoff means residents on Longbranch Road likely will get public water without having to pay a $25-per-month surcharge. However, it also means the Boone County Water District will spend nearly $350,000 to build a water line alongside an existing Florence water line.

For years, the city and Boone County have been at odds over who would provide water to the residents who want public water, but don't want to be annexed into the city.

Florence agreed to let residents tap into the line for a $25 monthly surcharge. In order to keep them from having to pay, Boone County Water said it would pay the charge. Florence said that was unacceptable.

"Allowing an outside utility to pay this fee ... creates an issue of equity for those Longbranch Road residents that chose to annex and pay taxes to the city of Florence," Mayor Diane Whalen wrote to Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore.

The Boone County Water Board will discuss the issue today, but Moore said the city's position leaves only one option.

"I don't think it leaves us any choice other than Boone Water running its own line," Moore said Friday. "I think the response is a bit unreasonable."

Sharing the Florence line with "flip/flop" meters to record whose water was flowing would have saved Boone Water $342,000, the cost of duplicating Florence's section. Now the water district will likely build a $700,000 line the entire length of Longbranch, from Kroth Lane to U.S. 42.

Florence's proposal also limited the taps to single homes. If residents developed their property into a subdivision, they would have to annex to be given a larger tap.



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