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Munfordville City Council

Water, Chamber, and Tourism Discussions

In a full room, the Munfordville City Council heard from representatives from both Green River Valley Water District, as well as the Hart County Chamber of Commerce. Above left, Andrew Tucker explains concerns with service to all areas of Hart County. Photo by Katrina England

By Katrina England

Reporter, Hart Co. News Herald

 

Green River Valley Water District

Andrew Tucker, General Manager of Green River Valley Water District, addressed the Council regarding upgrading for future projects, as well as concerns about water line size and capacity in Munfordville during future growth.

Green River Valley Water District sells water through Munfordville, by selling the city water and then buying it back for the north part of the district toward Bonnieville.

Recently, an emergency connection was also made to Edmonson County due to water quality issues they’ve faced with their district.

Due to how water districts are split, approximately 2,000 customers served by Edmonson County are actually Hart County residents.

“As growth is coming, it’s starting to concern us about line size and capacity, and what we pull off of you,” said Tucker. “There’s always been some concerns about the numbers not really adding up, what we’re selling, what we’re purchasing from you, and some concerns on that.”

One of his main concerns remained as the 38% line loss, which costs the city an extra $11,000 each month and is one of the big concerns with being able to adequately serve the north side of Munfordville.

Tucker expressed a desire to ensure leaks don’t lead to contaminations, and that water exits Munfordville lines as the same quality it enters.

Last month, a check valve was installed at the north side of Munfordville’s system where GRVWD buys back water. The tank at Pine Ridge could not feed back into Munfordville’s system, which temporarily left many citizens in the Harper Cemetery Road area without water.

“Whether there’s leaks or whatever there may be, our tank serves those people better by feeding back,” said Tucker. “My problem with that is my pump station on the north side of town feeds our tank, feeds our customers. Now it’s feeding Edmonson County. So it’s running even more, and now my tank’s feeding back into your system to feed your customers.”

Recently, the Akebono master meter was running backwards due to having to feed a line toward Harper Cemetery. This has left some confusion with customers, resulting in phone calls to the GRVWD office.

“I want to serve you all water and keep your system with the best water and the best quality,” said Tucker. “We want to help you eliminate some of your water loss…I want to be able to help you with your system…I can’t really promise Edmonson County stuff when I don’t know what’s going on here.”

Mayor Annie Swift requested Tucker work with Patrick Stinson to develop a game plan to help benefit the city and meet needs, along with an itemized cost estimate and timeline from Green River Valley Water District.

 

Hart County Chamber of Commerce

Caroline Pennington from the Hart County Chamber of Commerce, along with Whitney Choate, also requested to address the Council.

The cities of Horse Cave and Munfordville each contribute $2,500 per year to the Hart County Chamber of Commerce.

On behalf of the organization, Pennington requested both cities increase their contribution from $2,500 per year to $10,000 per year for a period of 3 years.

“The Chamber, in short and to be honest, has faced struggles in the recent few years,” said Pennington. “We had some high turnover, and we’ve gone through 3 executive directors in quick succession…This obviously destabilizes that organization and makes it difficult for us to make positive change.”

The Chamber has reevaluated and expanded the Executive Director position into a President/CEO role.

The new individual who fills this position will be responsible for the basic chamber functionality and growth, as well as the development of the county and Chamber. They will also oversee Chamber dues and financial health, and make recommendations to the Board, all of which fall under a goal of the Chamber being financially secure and independent.

“Past Executive Directors have communicated their frustration in doing both of those functions,” said Pennington. “We feel that in addition to a President/CEO role, the Chamber will benefit from an additional individual, who could manage day to day operations of the Chamber. Let’s call them a Chamber Office Manager, if you will, while the President/CEO functions at a higher, more strategic level. To hire and attain qualified individuals to meet those criteria, the Chamber needs more financial resources than we currently have access to. Hence, our ask of you tonight…In closing, we know that our partners in the Chamber have not been served as they should have been in the past. Without a stable individual steering that ship, our membership has suffered and we apologize for that. We ask that you help us help you.”

Pennington also stated decisions hinge on the decision of the Munfordville City Council.

“In addition to these asks, we will mention that the other city, and an additional contribution from the county is contingent upon Munfordville and their agreement to do this, as well,” said Pennington.

Jessica Nunn asked what that will look like for small businesses.

Jeremy Atwell asked for a description of the specific differences in calling the role a Chamber Director and Chamber President.

“What I just heard you say was the exact same thing that a Chamber Director in the past has been doing,” said Atwell.

Pennington explained that the role has expanded by moving from day-to-day function of the Chamber to a much higher, strategic level and will be serving more roles from the community.

Atwell then asked what a President/CEO will do for small businesses of Hart County.

“The hope is that the small businesses are better served than they have been in the past,” said Pennington. “We would hope that the individual would be able to visit those small businesses more often, (and) would be able to advocate for those small businesses more, not only here locally, but at a state level.”

She mentioned the potential of expansion due to incoming industrial growth, so the goal is to secure an individual who can help shape the vision for the community going forward.

“As a Chamber member and business owner, I really don’t hear from you all,” said Councilmember Jessica Nunn, who also owns Brooks Funeral Home in Munfordville. “So what does that mean for me?”

Pennington stated that the lack of support is what they hope to change.

“I think the Chamber is a very good thing, and I’m hearing all the things about what your new person could do, but I’m hearing a big ask,” said Councilmember Marcia Lenz. “That’s a big ask for our budget, and I think our budget is a little smaller than the other city you mentioned, so I don’t know that that’s feasible for us at this time.”

Pennington stated they didn’t need an answer from the Council that night, and that they could take the opportunity to consider it.

Mayor Swift asked about a plan of action to move forward and asked if the Chamber could provide an explanation of what the city would be investing in, as well as the rollover of board members, and whether the city could appoint a board member.

Pennington and Choate will return to the next board meeting to present further details regarding the financial statement, job description, current financial statements, plan of action for the next 3 years, and the projected finances at the end of the 3 years.

“Why us last?” asked Council member Ricky Line. “I don’t like to be held hostage that if they do it, and they do it, and they do it, and we’re the last one asked. That doesn’t sit well with me…That’s a little offensive…We should not be the ones (to decide). We ought to do what’s best for Munfordville. I can’t do what’s best for Horse Cave. I can’t do what’s best for the county. I’d love to, but I’m not on that (Council). I can try do what’s best for Munfordville, and (funding) may be (best). We’ll see.”

Additional Council members agreed.

Pennington explained that offering the option to the City of Munfordville last, along with a disclaimer that their decision impacted all other decisions was not an intention, but rather by way of the schedule of meetings, and she offered personal apologies.

Atwell requested to see specific benefits for Munfordville in the action plan.

“I’ll give you the background of why I’m asking that,” said Atwell. “When I opened a business in January of 2016, I was a half block from the Chamber office. I paid my dues. The only time anyone from Chamber set foot in my business was when they needed a donation or needed something last minute that I could provide for them that they had been going out of county and getting, but then wanted to negotiate the price to match what they had been getting out of county. So, my question, even when I sat on the Chamber board, if I’m a half block from you, and you can walk out your front door and throw a rock and break my front window – if I’m not getting anything and I’m that close, what’s a business in Cub Run, Legrande, Magnolia area, what are they getting? Because you’re either passing me by and saying, ‘They’ll be okay,’ or you just don’t care to begin with…That’s why I’m no longer a Chamber member, and Jesus is pretty much going to have to ask me to join to get me to rejoin.”

Mayor Swift asked about the height of membership in the last year, but Pennington did not have that information.

Nunn assured Pennington and Choate that the negativity was not directed at them, but rather the situation. Atwell agreed and stated they just wanted to see evidence of how things will change.

“I will say that you are not the first person we have heard that from,” said Pennington. “We know that our Chamber partners have not been served appropriately in the past. We want to try to fix some of that.”

 

Department Reports

In the Police Report, Assistant Chief Riggs announced the department had four expired bulletproof vests, which had to be replaced. Four new vests cost $4,866, a total which has now been fully funded. His additional reports were included in the Council packets.

The Public Works activity log was also included in the packets of the Council members.

In the fire report, 17 runs were reported for the month of February, which included 6 EMS assists, 2 fire alarms, 5 structure fires, 2 injury accidents, and 2 non-injury accidents.

For Code Enforcement, 3 complaints were received. Two warnings were issued and both were corrected, and a third had two parts to the complaint which crossed from code enforcement to law enforcement. The code enforcement portion was corrected. The law enforcement portion has been handed over.

Tourism Director, Coni Shepperd, had previously resigned her position, and the Tourism Department is accepting applications for a new director through April 15. Currently, everything planned for the summer is still on in regards to tourism.

There were no Zoning or Cemetery Reports.

 

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