Last updated: June 06. 2014 1:07PM - 611 Views
By - mlasley@civitasmedia.com

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Kevin Pharis announced Thursday, June 5 that he will retire from his position as Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent effective July 31.

Pharis, 54, presented his letter of intent to retire during the regularly scheduled, June 5 Leitchfield Utilities Commission meeting.

Pharis started working for Leitchfield Utilities 26-and-a-half years ago as a Utilities Commissioner under then-Mayor Sherrill Watson. He then spent five years as Utilities Chairman, five years as Utilities Foreman, and the last five years of his career as Utilities Superintendent.

“It’s been a long road,” said Pharis, who also discussed the importance and success of the utilities system in Leitchfield.

“We’re one of the few systems with water, sewer, and gas…many jobs are here,” he said. “This system is a great system.”

Pharis said many people don’t receive opportunities like he’s had throughout his career, and he’s grateful to have had the opportunities he’s been given.

“I’ve been fortunate,” he said.

Pharis said that while other areas may struggle to maintain their utilities, Leitchfield has been fortunate enough to have both the necessary equipment and employees - nearly all of whom Pharis saw hired - to keep its utilities system up and running.

The two Utilities projects Pharis said he is most proud to have seen accomplished are the installations of a new raw water intake valve and radio read automated meters, the latter of which will significantly reduce the time spent checking meters.

Pharis said he had wanted to give more notice regarding his retirement, but if he had postponed it any longer, he would have lost out on a portion of his retirement. However, he said, he will still give assistance to the utilities if they need it.

Pharis said he looks forward to retirement and having more time to spend with his family.

Current Utilities Chairman Robert Crawford said the Utilities Commission will accept applications from Utilities employees through Tuesday, June 10 at 4 p.m. and will interview applicants on Thursday, June 12.

Crawford said the Commission wants to hire a new Utilities Superintendent soon, so that he or she may work and learn alongside Pharis prior to his retirement.

In other business:

*The Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Proposed Budget, which includes a proposed Utilities revenue of $7,492,490; proposed expenses of $7,653,650; and a $161, 160 net deficit.

*The Commission passed a motion to extend the approval/rejection deadline for the energy savings performance contract with Energy Savings Group an additional 30 days.

Crawford said the utilities had originally intended to either award or reject the contract by June 15; however, after sending the proposal to the University of Kentucky for review, a number of questions still remain, and the Commission does not have another scheduled meeting until June 19.

*The Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Amended Budget, which included a total Utilities revenue of $7.8 million.

*The Commission approved the renewal of the City health insurance plan for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

*The Commission awarded chemical bids for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

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