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Two area water systems looking to disband

The Franklin County Commission was expected to vote Tuesday on a request from the Isbell Water Authority and Rockwood Water Authority to disband and merge into service from the Russellville Water and Sewer Board.

Isbell and Rockwood manager Frank Bishop addressed the commission at its January 8th work session and made the request. The boards of both systems signed resolutions asking to transfer their systems to the Russellville system.

Rockwood Water Authority is operated through authority of the Franklin County Commission, while Isbell Water Authority is a corporation. But Bishop asked the commission to approve the resolutions of both systems to make sure all legal bases were covered.

Both systems receive water through the Russellville Water and Sewer Board already, but handle billing and service themselves. Bishop said Isbell Water Authority customers approved the proposed transfer by an 81-19 percent majority.

We're asking the commission to approve the resolution to transfer both systems to the City of Russellville Water Board,” Bishop said.

Bishop said that it was not economically feasible for the water systems to continue operations. Isbell serves approximately 340 customers and Rockwood 85.

They get their water from the city already. We've got reserves in both systems and they will be used for updates to both water systems,” Bishop said. “Each system would be dissolved upon transfer to the City of Russellville Water Board.”

Russellville Water and Sewer Board Manager Doug Clement and his board attended Monday's work session. Clement said his board supported the proposed move and the transfer would mean better service and less cost for Rockwood and Isbell customers.

Our goal is to immediately turn their money into radio tech meters and get that water loss under control,” Clement said. “I think it's a match made in Heaven and their customers deserve this and will see their water bills go down $3-$4 per month.”

Rockwood Water Authority was established in 1975 and Isbell in 1965.

Clement said the two systems face increasing costs for water sampling and testing and they have gone up on water cost to customers as much as was feasible.

We offer water at a different rate. Customers will get service from our staff on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we get notice of a leak, we'll respond to get that leak fixed promptly,” Clement said.

Clement said customers in Isbell and Rockwood would eventually see the installation of AMR radio metered technology, which allows reading of gas, water and electric meters electronically.

The service will be more streamlined for these customers and they should save a few dollars each month on their water,” Clement said.

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