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Operational merger of Adair utilities now in effect

'The right thing,' Mayor Bell says. Columbia-Adair County Utilities District is now operational, as of noon today. City will send last water and sewer bills August 5; C-AC will send first bills for merged unit starting September 1, 2010
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By Ed Waggener

"This is better for both the city and county and bodes well for both," Columbia Mayor Pat Bell said at the close of signing of agreements establishing interim operational agreements and transferring assets of the Columbia Water and Sewer Departments to the new Columbia-Adair County Utilities District.

The agreements were signed starting a 10amCT this morning, Friday, July 30, 2010, with the operational agreement taking effect at 12pm noon CT, today.

The signing marked the culmination of a dream Mayor Bell has long wanted to see.

He said of the merged unit, "It's well run. Progressive. We're doing the right thing now."

The Mayor's remarks came in response to Columbia-Adair County Utilities District General Manager Lenny Stone's compliments to the Mayor and Columbia City Clerk Carolyn Edwards about the collegial relationships they had maintained during the negotiations for the transfer. "They've been very good to work with," Stone said. There had been differences along the way, he said, but that was to be expected.

Attorney Damon Talley, a leading attorney in Kentucky in the utilities field, had the two parties sign agreements on the transfer of insurance responsibility, vehicle titles, rights of way and easements and other matters pertaining to asset transfers.

Actual transfer of real estate will take place on final approval of the merger by the Public Service Commission, which has to approve transfer of debt, and the Rural Development Administration, which has to approve the assumption of debt by the Columbia-Adair County Utilities District. Mr. Talley said that he had been assured the approval will take place within the next few weeks.

For customers, the change will be seamless. There will be a change in billing.

Billing will change

The City made final meter readings on July 26, 27, and 28, 2010, and will be sending its final bill to water and sewer customers on August 5, 2010.

With that bill, Columbia Water and Sewer customers will get their last garbage bill through the City.

After that billing cycle, the city will continue to bill gas customers and customers who are gas only buyers will continue to have City garbage bills from the City.

County will read meters starting August 9, 2010, and will send first bills from the new Columbia-Adair County Utilities District starting September 1, 2010. These bills will include City of Columbia Garbage Bills, which will be collected by the C-AC Utilities District on a contract with the City.

The first bill from the C-AC will be for a one-time, shorter term one, Mr. Talley said, but after that the bills will come on a regular monthly cycle.

Six employees are transferred

Prior to returning from lunch today, six Columbia Utilities workers were wearing City uniforms. "When they come back to work at noon," Mr. Talley said, "they will be employees of the Columbia-Adair County Utilities District."

The employees are Dana Rogers, James "Bo" Murphy, Joe Chapman, Wally Grant, Chris Kerns, and Steven Breeding.

On hand for the signing were Mayor Pat Bell, General Manager Lenny Stone, Columbia City Clerk Carolyn Edwards, Attorneys Damon Talley and Marshall Loy, Columbia-Adair County Utilities District Office Manager Jennifer Carter, and members of the local media.

This story was posted on 2010-07-30 12:39:05
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City-County Utilities merger: New look of little red trucks

2010-07-30 - Photo by Ed Waggener. 109 Grant Lane, Columbia, KY
Just moments after Columbia Mayor Pat Bell and Columbia-Adair County Utilities District General Manager Lenny Stone signed transfer of operations agreements the two stood in front of the new look of the new "little red truck" with the Columbia/Adair County Utilities District look. Mayor Bell, who has long advocated the merger of the utilities, has for years used the phrase "We don't need two sets of little red trucks running around doing the same job." Operational merger officially starts at 12pm Noon CT.

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Historic Red Letter day in Adair Co.:
Utilities merger operations transfer

2010-07-30 - Photo by Ed Waggener. 109 Grant LN, Columbia, KY
Columbia City Clerk Carolyn Edwards, left, signs one of several operating and assets transfer documents this morning at the conference room of what is now the Columba-Adair County Utilities District. Clockwise are Edwards, Columbia Mayor Pat Bell, Attorney Damon Talley of Fairplay and Hodgenville, KY; Jennifer Carter, office manager of the new District; C-AC Utilities District Attorney Marshall Loy, and Lenny Stone, General Manager of the merged district. At 12pm Noon CT, the transfer takes effect. The final transfer of certain debt and real estate will take place upon final approval of the Public Service Commission and Rural Development Administration.

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