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Helping an Arkansas Town Improve Management of Struggling Water System
March 31, 2011 |
Staff of Community Resource Group, the Southern RCAP, met with residents of Mt. Zion, Arkansas, to help address serious issues with the community’s water system, which faces massive debt, failure to meet health regulations and thousands of dollars in state penalties.
At the first water association meeting in 15 years, approximately 50 people gathered to weigh options for improving their water system. The water association has approximately $70,000 in old debt owes more than $27,000 in state penalties for failing to comply with testing and health regulations.
According to local online news Monticello Live, roughly half of the 180 homes connected to the Mt. Zion water system failed to receive a water bill. For the month of August 2010, this equals about 417,000 gallons of “free” water that was used in the Mt. Zion system.
The Arkansas Board of Health has suggested that Mt. Zion consolidate its water supply with the nearby town of Monticello and has also recommended CRG to facilitate the consolidation. The water associating meeting was conducted by CRG Technical Assistance Providers Jerry Kopke and Richard King.
Kopke said that if Mt. Zion re-organized its board of directors and financed its debt, it could be debt-free within ten years. He said that a new board would allow meters to be shut off if bills go unpaid.
CRG representatives will continue to work with Mt. Zion to ensure that the community has water that is reliable, clean and financially viable.