Sanitation board holds first meeting since NKY flooding

COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) - The Sanitation District 1 board met for the first time on Tuesday since Northern Kentucky residents were flooded with raw sewage and storm water.

Since then, the district has announced program cuts that could lead to more raw sewage flowing into neighborhoods and basements.

SD1 is required by the federal government to minimize combined sewer overflows, but SD1 argues they cannot fund the projects without a rate increase which was not granted this year.

"We can't afford any more in Covington guys, we just can't," resident Susan Barnett argued.

Barnett urged board members not to cut services despite the decision by Judge Executives in June not to increase the sanitary rate.

"My reason for voting no was to really insist that our board members that represent the sanitation district, for them to go back and find efficiencies in the budget," Beth Sewell explained.

Kenton County Commissioner of District 1,  Beth Sewell, is a former resident of Peaselburg, one of the hardest hit areas.

"I can speak for our fiscal court that we're willing to come to the table and work in any fashion that we can," she said addressing the board.

Residents are losing patience, however, as they wait for solutions.

"I know you're out there doing great things but we've waited way too long," Barnett argued. "We need some help. Please make us a priority. It truly is time for solutions not excuses."

"Somebody has to do something about this. We cannot keep living in this raw sewage," Dietz argued.

Covington flood victims were supported at the meeting by their city management, mayor, and a few commissioners.

Three of Covington's commissioners voted back in May not to support a rate increase for SD1 that could help fund projects.

"I'm not going to give more money until I have a firm commitment that this area's problems are going to be addressed," commissioner Steve Frank told FOX19.

Frank said he is prepared to change his vote in favor of a rate increase if monies are promised to fix Covington's overflows.

"It's about time we get the respect and concern of our neighbors out in the suburbs," Frank said. "So please, please, please work with us and we'll work with you."

"I don't know what we can do at this point," Board President Jay Weber said. "We don't have answers at this point but we hear you and we thing we understand what your situation is so we appreciate that very much."

"How can you legally do this if [under] your consent decree you are responsible for these sewers?" Barnett questioned. "Even more how can you sleep at night knowing that people are at risk of unhealthy and unsanitary conditions?"

One of the other concerns raised is that there is no one on the board that lives in Covington despite there being four representatives from Kenton County.

Covington City Manager Larry Klein says he expect a  majority of city commissioners to sign a resolution at next week's meeting supporting a rate increase for projects that will benefit the city.

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