MARION, KY – A western Kentucky town continues to struggle with a water crisis. Also, people there have to pay extra fees for an unrelated infrastructure project.
Marion, Kentucky, is seeking short- and long-term solutions to the city’s water problem after it breached the Lake George levee – its main source of water – in April.
Plus, the people there have to pay even more, because Marion worked on a $19 million investment to improve sewage treatment.
Residents of Marion have mixed responses. Nobody wants to pay more for their water because of the crisis. However, some say they are doing well, considering the city is doing its part. Others are disappointed and say the bills are too high.
In addition to these payments, they must pay the environmental levy to help improve the city’s sewage system.
People say that can be a lot, especially in these financial times.
The city keeps moving forward, but with the water crisis, people are facing higher water bills.
“That’s to be expected,” says Colleen Whitworth. “I mean, do I like it?” No. I’m sure nobody likes it, but we need water.
Whitworth has lived in Marion for eight years. Although she couldn’t fill her pool this year, she’s not crazy about the rising bill. His water bill went up $20.
“Yeah, I think they are,” says Whitworth. “I’m not mad about it. I mean, things happen every day, so you know, I’m really not mad about it. As long as they still provide us with water, I I can always take a shower, wash my clothes, wash my dishes, that’s fine with me.”
But others, like Amber Smith, are disappointed.
“It’s outrageous,” Smith said. “I mean, it really is.”
In addition to the water crisis, there is an environmental charge attached to water bills. That’s because the city invested in improving the underground infrastructure of its sewer system after an order from the state of Kentucky. It’s been going on for seven or eight years.
With the combination of the crisis and infrastructure improvements, city leaders say one thing matters. “You want to get it right,” says Marion City administrator Adam Ledford. “And that means taking the right, appropriate steps. And if it takes another 30 days or 45 days in their process to come to that conclusion, then you better spend that time now than find out in 10 years. You ended up make the wrong choice for the community.”
But with all the fees, Smith says her water bill is a burden, mostly because of inflation.
“With everything going up already, I mean, I’m on a fixed income,” Smith says. “The races are higher. This money can be used for more races or more gasoline which increases.”
The city of Marion will experience a change of direction. The last day of the city administrator is next week. Additionally, the mayor and four council members are not standing in the November elections.
However, two council members are running for mayor – Donnie Arflack and D’Anna Browning.
AJ Valentine, who is not a council member, is also running for mayor.
The Delta Regional Authority – a federal-state partnership aimed at improving the lives of residents of the Mississippi Delta – announced that it would invest just over $1 million in the Marion Wastewater Treatment Plant.