Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 10, 2013

Provide water to residents

The Register-News

---- — Editor:

Having heard from constituents in my district concerning the lack of running water, I requested assistance from the county board chairman to assist addressing this problem.

On Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, a meeting was held at the Jefferson County Board Room to discuss options of supplying fresh running water to the area on Sparrow Lane to Fresia Road. In attendance were myself, Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White, Mt. Vernon City Manager Ron Neibert, Cary Minnis from the Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, Rend Lake Conservancy District Board Members David Stewart and Jere Shaw, and residents from this area, along with RLCD General Manager Keith Thomason, via phone.

For many years, residents in this area have been paying property taxes to the Rend Lake Conservancy Disttrict, for over 40 years. I believe they have the right to enjoy the benefits of fresh running water that is provided throughout the rest of the district and non-district residents. Currently there are two lines that run up to, but short of these residences that are owned and maintained by the City of Mt. Vernon. However, their property is not in the corporate or annexed limits of the City of Mt. Vernon.

The City Manager stated that he would be willing to discuss the opportunity of connecting these residents onto the present lines with the Mt. Vernon City Council. Any financial obligations for the labor and materials for such hook up would not be something that Mt. Vernon would be able to undertake in the immediate future due to commitments already made within that portion of their budget for this type of project. At the same time, he committed to researching the project further to ensure that all aspects are addressing, including zoning and IEPA requirements.

Cary Minnis has agreed to research possible funding options, including grants that would assist in this endeavor. Jere Shaw has committed to addressing the need for water and the need for funding with the RLCD Board in hopes that some form of funds could be committed to this effort.

My purpose in requesting this meeting was to bring awareness to a situation that I find unacceptable in this day and age. Our federal government has committed several billions of dollars to infrastructure improvements, to include providing fresh running water to residents of foreign countries, while residents in this country go without.

I appreciate the efforts of the chairman in bringing together the Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, RLCD and the City for the purposes of this discussion. I’m encouraged by the agreement to meet again once potential solutions to solving this problem can be discussed. I’m very impressed with the concern and offers of support by these same individuals for a project that will ultimately provide a precious commodity that so many of us take for granted.

Randy Edwards

County Board District 5

Mt. Vernon