North Mercer explains its finances to Fiscal Court

December 11, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Representatives of North Mercer Water District tried to allay concerns Tuesday about the interest it earns on money granted to it from various sources.

"We operate with no secrets," said Roy Short, manager of the district. "We're a non-profit organization, and we went about 16 years without a rate change."

Tom Smith, auditor of the water company's accounts, said North Mercer is required to have some money in the bank. "People buying (construction) bonds want to make sure we have enough money to operate," he told Mercer County Fiscal Court. "Lenders want to know (North Mercer) can pay back their debt."

The money is set aside and draws interest until the funds are needed for new lines and operation and maintenance of the system, Smith told the court.


Former Mercer County Judge-Executives Kenneth Kirkland and the late Charles McGinnis tried to make money available to North Mercer and Lake Village Water Association so that more county residents could have city water and it has made a difference in the number of people the two water suppliers have been able to serve. Each has received between $100,000 and $200,000 each year for the construction of new lines over the last several years.

"In 2002 (the district) spent almost $100,000 more than they took in," Smith said. "If they didn't get the $200,000 from you, they would have spent $300,000 more than they took in."

Any interest gained on the money in the district's bank account goes back into the General Fund, he said.

Short said there are only eight or nine county roads in its service area that don't have city water, but the last ones are likely to be the most difficult and most expensive.

None of the magistrates at the meeting seemed to have a quarrel with the way the money is handled or the way in which it is spent. Both Short and Smith told the magistrates that if they have any questions about the district to call them for an explanation.

Central Kentucky News Articles