Licking County News

SWL officials want public water for Kirkersville Elementary

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Though still in the discussion stages, Southwest Licking schools officials hope to contract with the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District to provide public water service to Kirkersville Elementary School.

"Our well situation has been bad there for many years," school board member Don Huber said.

Huber said school board members are eager to work something out with the water and sewer district and the village of Kirkersville to provide reliable water service. He expects the subject to be discussed in depth at the March 21 board meeting.

"A reliable water source is very important to us," said Superintendent Robert Jennell.

Jennell said Kirkersville Elementary School also is in line for an improved fire-suppression system, which would require access to public water.

The village of Kirkersville does not have its own public water system and must reach an agreement with the water and sewer district to install a water line inside the village limits that would lead to the school.

In the past, Kirkersville has resisted installing public water as a way to preserve its rural character and limit growth.

"Each entity is fully aware of what's happening," Jennell said.

He said the process has been "slow going" but not necessarily urgent because Kirkersville Elementary School's well is functional.

However, Jennell said, public water would be preferred.

"(Board members) are excited about getting public water to that building," he said.

Jennell said the timing also would be right.

"The summer months are good for renovations and other work," he said.

Don Rector, general manager of the water and sewer district, said he received legislation from Kirkersville regarding the district entering the village's right of way and planned to share that information with the Southwest Licking school district.

"I'm not sure what the school is thinking at this time, but I plan to reach out to them shortly," Rector said.

"We worked on this (legislation) for a while, and then put this in place," said Kirkersville Mayor Terry Ashcraft, who added that the village approved its legislation March 6.

Ashcraft said a $1,000 application fee would be followed by an annual permit fee of $5,000 for the first two years.

The fee would decrease by $250 every other year until year eight, when the annual permit fee would continue indefinitely at $4,000. The fee applies to the first 15 miles of encroachment into the village.

Jennell said many details must be worked out among the village, school district and water and sewer district before an agreement is reached.

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