One of Tom Prather’s first goals when elected Georgetown’s mayor some six years ago was to address the sewage problems at Georgetown Mobile Estates.
It was an odd goal as the mobile home park sits well outside Georgetown’s city limits, resting on the Fayette/Scott County line to the south.
“It’s a problem we’ve been ignoring for too long,” he said at the time.
Sewage treatment plants servicing some 500 Georgetown Mobile Estate residences were failing or had failed, spewing raw sewage onto the ground and into nearby water ways, including area creeks providing water for Georgetown. A later survey revealed the infrastructure beneath the actual mobile home park was also failing, creating more and more problems. On top of all this, the mobile home park was in receivership with several banks, creating communication problems not to mention a hesitancy to invest into the property to correct the ongoing problems.
Today, the solution is near.
“We are amazingly close,” Prather said with a noticeable sign of relief and satisfaction. “No, if the bids come in higher than we anticipate this could all blow up, but I think we are in a good place.”
The bids are for a two-year multi-million project by the city’s Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer System to run sewer lines up U.S. 25 enabling Georgetown Mobile Estates to connect onto the GMWSS system. Financing which includes a low-interest loan from the state due to the environmental hazards presented by the failing sewage plants, and funds from the Scott County Fiscal Court and the Lexington/Fayette County Urban County Government have enabled the project to move forward.
“Now the funding is in place and we have the council’s approval, things are moving right along,” Prather said.
A pre-bid checklist is being followed and now negotiations are under way with the bank management overseeing the mobile home park to finalize some last-minute critical details. One of those details is just who is responsible for the demolition and disassembly of the existing package plants.
“They have to do the demolition,” the mayor said. There has been some resistance, but Prather believes an agreement is imminent. “We are very close,” he said.
The other issue is how the city will collect the eventual sewage fees, not to mention the cost of connecting the sewer lines with the mobile home park residences.
“We don’t want to be chasing 500 customers,” Prather said. “We need to protect the city’s investment. In order to do that we really want only one customer, and that is the mobile home park management.”
After negotiations that were sometimes, tense, the bank management team has offered a solution Prather said makes a lot of sense to everyone. The bank will issue a bond in Georgetown’s name to cover all operational and a construction costs.
“It’s absolute protection for the City of Georgetown,” he said. The bank hopes to eventually sell the property, so the bond protects the city under any circumstance.
The city is also in talks with Jimmy Dwyer who owns much of the land through which the sewer lines will pass, including two lagoons. The parties are collecting appraisals for the value of easements and privilege fees, but Prather anticipates no problems.
“Our conversations are open and comfortable,” the mayor said.
The plan is to start the project sometime this fall, providing the bids are in line with cost estimates.
“We are so close to getting this resolved,” Prather said.
Mike Scogin can be reached at email@example.com.