Harlan council reappoints water board members

Published 8:47 am Friday, June 14, 2024

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The Harlan City Council approved the reappointment of a pair of Harlan Municipal Water Board members during the panel’s regular June meeting.

City of Harlan Mayor Joe Meadors brought the matter up to the council about midway through the meeting.

“They’re asking that Paul Meister and Paul Bushnell be reappointed to six-year terms,” Meadors told the council. “I attend quite a few of their meetings, not all of them, but it’s a group that seems to get along. They ask questions of each other and they’re going to have to make a decision pretty soon about what their rates are going to be.”

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According to Meadors, Harlan Municipal Water Works is known statewide for being an exceptionally well-run utility.

“It’s one of the best in the state,” Meadors said. “Water systems that have not been managed and operated properly are an issue all over Kentucky but particularly in eastern Kentucky. A lot of people are having to pay tremendous amounts for their water service.”

A council member pointed out six years is a long time to serve. Meadors explained to shorten the terms, the ordinance would have to be amended.

“You’d have to change the ordinance,” Meadors stated. “The ordinance calls for six years…to get people that are qualified and able to meet, there’s just a shortage of people.”

Meadors noted Harlan Municipal Water serves many people outside the city limits of Harlan.

“I’ll be glad to entertain other names, but nobody jumps out,” Meadors said. “This is a critical part of our community…this is who I’m going to recommend tonight.”

Meadors noted the ordinance can be changed if the council decides to do so.

“My action tonight is I’m going to reappoint both of these individuals, Paul Meister and Mark Bushnell to serve six-year terms,” Meadors said. “I’m going to reappoint both of them, I’m asking for your approval. I’m certainly willing to look at the ordinance to change it and maybe not have (the terms) quite so long.”

Council member Jeff Phillips made a motion to approve the appointments of Bushnell and Meister, seconded by council member Tyler Frazier. The council voted to approve the motion with no opposition.