Regarding (“Frankfort Plant Board votes to resubmit Tanglewood reservoir plans,” Jan. 22), there are a number of troubling issues about the proposed reservoir replacement that concern me.
The state statutes say that FPB is in charge of running the services and the city holds title solely “for the use and benefit of the electric and water system.” The statute dictates that when building structures, the plans are to be submitted to Planning and Zoning (P&Z) for comment, with no provision for approval. Yet approval by P&Z and the city is why this emergency replacement has been held up for over a year. The FPB is not subject to municipal zoning.
The city contends that as the landowner, it has the final authority on what shall be built? Where does that authority come from — whole cloth?
It ignores these statutory requirements, costing us nearly $100,000 in legal fees, as it attempts to override its own ordinance that gives the “Board the absolute and exclusive control, management, operation and maintenance of the water light and power system.”
The FPB lawsuit was completely briefed and waiting for Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate’s ruling, which would have resolved the question of ownership vs. operation of the utility. However, it was halted by new FPB directors John Cubine and John Snyder, leaving these essential questions unresolved for the foreseeable future. We can thank Mayor Bill May and the city commissioners who installed these directors for that.
What started this feud between the well-connected residents of the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi) and the FPB? The pre-Rosen board failed to communicate with TNAi when FPB built the headend at the reservoir.
Ex-Commissioner Robert Roach double-dipped here by serving simultaneously on the city commission and planning commission, carrying TNAi’s water. He voted “no” on it twice, once in each body, which is an apparent conflict of interest.
Roach began political meddling into FPB’s administrative duties, and was the impetus for the city to install directors who are keen to allow it. This Roach commission tried in vain to oust the whistleblowers, directors Walt Baldwin and Anna Marie Rosen, who unearthed the many problems with the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency contract, like the bogus $8 million per year “savings.”
Presently, the city and the Cubine board are trying to appease TNAi in an effort that ignores the statute and sells out the ratepayers. Recently, they approved in closed session the much more expensive twin tanks to be submitted to P&Z for its sham “approval.”
Bottom line is that the unfinished lawsuit cost approximately $100,000 and we have nothing to show for it. The increased cost of the compromise solution could be $800,000 to $3 million-plus more now, and much more cost in the future depending on FPB's concessions.
This whole process of placating the TNAi for no good stated reason will add an additional year to the replacement of the 134-year-old tanks that were determined to be an emergency nearly a decade ago. God help us if they catastrophically fail in the meantime, as lives could be lost.
Jim Daniel is a lifelong Frankfort resident and retired Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection enforcement agent. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.