Drakesboro mayor signs contract for natural gas system operations
DRAKESBORO, KY (WFIE) - The deal is done.
Drakesboro Mayor Mike Jones has selected a qualified third-party group to run the city’s natural gas system. The move comes after a state inspection showed nearly three dozen violations, and gave the city a one day notice to either sign a contract or shut down.
With only hours to spare, Mayor Jones signed the documents shortly after 2 o’clock Friday afternoon securing those workers. 14 News was the only media organization present.
“I think that will make the PSC happy that we have these contractors 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and address all 35 of the deficiencies,” Mayor Jones stated.
An emergency meeting was held Friday morning, but not enough city council members showed up for a vote. They were one person shy.
The Mayor decided to move forward with legal counsel, reviewing two contacts throughout the day.
Russmar Utlities was selected, who are not the same operators that were previously helping run the system.
Mayor Jones tells 14 News a major deciding factor came down to payment options.
“The only difference between the two contractors was one contractor needed us to secure the funding today, which we couldn’t and the other said they would be willing to do the work, bill us, and give us 30 days to pay each invoice as we receive them,” Jones explained.
A list of 35 violations were previously revealed, after the Kentucky Public Service Commission opened an investigation related to the city’s natural gas safety standards.
"We’re talking about people’s lives that was put in danger. That’s horrible,” resident Carolyn Orange said.
“I also hope all of our customers are assured the city is doing what we need to do to make sure that they’re all safe going forward,” Jones added.
The Mayor is hoping customers’ bills will not be affected.
City leaders have been called to Frankfort for a hearing.
It will be held on Friday, March 8th.
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