BENTON — Jefferson County leaders have approached the Rend Lake Conservancy District about providing water to a group of district residents who don't have water service.
"Nine families would be served," said Jefferson County Board member Randy Edwards. "We've been to the city...but these people aren't located in the city limits. ... I'm asking if you can give me some help on this situation. They have been paying taxes to RLCD for 40 years."
Edwards explained many of the residents and their family have been living in the area — located on Sparrow Lane — for 40 years, while others have moved there more recently. The families are located between two Mt. Vernon water lines, but there is not contiguous land between the properties in question and the city limits, which means the properties can't be annexed into the city at this time.
Edwards was told the district could not tap into city-owned and maintained lines, which would mean about two miles of pipe; the closest RLCD line would be several miles away, on Bunny Farm Road.
"We've never built a water main for someone else," said RLCD Chairman Keith Ward. "If we did that, we'd have to build for everyone to be fair. If you built for 60 communities, that's ... a big chunk of cash there. Besides, we don't have it in our policy"
Edwards said although the city of Mt. Vernon is moving in the western direction, it isn't at that point yet, and he understood what members of the board said.
"But these people have paid taxes to you all for so long. This is 2013. We have people drinking out of wells and cisterns."
Members of the board from Jefferson County said they knew of several "pockets" of people living in the district who did not receive water.