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Renovation of Rochester Dam to begin in August; Butler County unable to recycle plastic materials

John Dix, President of the Kentucky Rural Water Association speaks about plans for the Rochester Dam.

Butler County Fiscal Court met on Monday, July 22 at the courthouse.

John Dix, President of the Kentucky Rural Water Association, gave a presentation and update on the Rochester Dam located in Butler County. Dix discussed the water commission’s plans for the renovation of the dam. Dix explained that due to weathering and natural wear and tear of a dam that has been around since 1838, the structure has begun to deteriorate and needs attention. In 2017, the commission received a $3 million-dollar grant to fund the renovation of the dam.

“This has been a major milestone for us,” Dix said.

He said that the construction is necessary in providing water and jobs for people of Butler and surrounding counties.

“The dam is critical to over 50,000 people and roughly about 10,000 jobs that people forget about,” Dix said.

According to Dix, the construction is expected to begin in August and is a process that Dix said has been “long overdue.” The commission hopes to have the first phase of the project complete by October.

In 2013, Rochester Dam Regional Water Commission was formed with the intent to protect the dam, maintain ownership and become a receiving agency for federal/state grants. The Rochester Dam Commission is associated with Butler County Water, Morgantown Utilities Commission and Ohio County Water District. Properties involved will include six acres in Ohio County and four acres in Muhlenberg County.

Dix discussed the objectives of the renovation project. The first goal will be to restore the historic elevation. Dix addressed the rumors that have been circulating regarding the possible raising of the water level and denied that this was true. He stated that they are simply matching the original construction elevations of the dam. The original elevation is 379.84.

Other objectives will be to: reduce leakage throughout the dam, improve the water barriers which are nearly 80 years old and improve safety. Dix said that because of flooding, there are some limits to what they can do regarding safety aspects, however they are considering some methods to control public access.

The project will be a three-step process according to Dix. The first phase will be centered around work at the lock and will consist of the building of a concrete “V” Wall behind the gates of the dam to act as a water barrier. The State Historic Preservation Office would not allow for the original plan which was to completely remove the gates. The downstream gates were also required to stay and will therefore be pinned open at all times to meet the preservation standards.

Dix said it is anticipated for this first step to be complete this fall around August or September as he said that all work on the lock must be complete by October 15. For the dam, 10 to 15 feet upstream, piles will be drove to the rock shelf and concrete “grout” bags will be placed behind the piles to form a barrier. Regarding the Mill Race, a two-foot concrete structure will be built and anchored to the existing rock beginning at the edge of the piles.

A copy of the plans for the renovation project can also accessed at the following link:  

Rochester Dam Renovation Project.pdf

In other business, the Butler County Recycling Center is currently not accepting plastic products. Flener said that the prices for plastic have decreased and the county cannot currently afford to ship the products off. He also said that the facilities are at capacity with plastic products. Flener said that many surrounding areas are also dealing with this issue.

“Right now it is just not feasible for us to take this product. We hope that everyone understands that and works with us during this process,” Flener said. “Hopefully these prices go back up and we are able to start taking plastic again soon.”


An Entertainment Permit was approved to be granted to Cedar Ridge Raceway.


Fifth District Magistrate Dillon Bryant added that in regards to the previous approval of raises, the emergency management position was left out. Bryant made a motion to increase the salary for this position with a 50-cent raise. Bryant also clarified that regarding the raises of the coroner and deputies, there was a total raise of $3,000 to be divided among the three job positions. The corner received $1,500 of the increased raise amount and the deputies each received a raise of $750.

Regarding the raise previously discussed by Second District Kevin Phelps, County Attorney Richard Deye was unable to find information stating that a ferry operator could or could not receive greater or lesser pay than others and said that the personnel policy could be amended.


Fourth District Magistrate David Whittinghill proposed the removal of 246 Old Mining City Road from county maintenance. A vote of 4-1 took place with Third District Timmy Givens opposed.

A public hearing will be scheduled for August 8 regarding the removal of the road with witnesses being David Whittinghill, Dillon Bryant and Johnathan Deweese. 

Givens addressed the question of why there is a need for multiple people to ride in a recycling truck to get the job completed. Judge Flener said that he could not answer this and would talk with the company.

Other items of business included:

-Approval to advertise to take sealed bids on Leonard Oak Ramp above dam

-Approval to make payment to KACO for 19-20 Earthquake Renewal in the amount of $9,583.00

-Approval to make reimbursement payment to Kentucky State Treasurer in the amount of $397.99

-Approval to pay HB 810 incentive program

-Approval of payment for Litter Abatement to:

---Butler County Education Foundation in the amount of $500 – Girls Soccer

---Butler County Education Foundation in the amount of $483.30 – Boys Soccer

-Approval of Quarterly Financial Statements, 4th quarter 2018 – 2019, subject to audit

-Approval of 2018 – 2019 Annual Treasurer’s Settlement subject to audit – Paper copy in BC Treasurer’s office and was emailed to magistrates

-Approval to advertise 2018 – 2019 audit in lieu of full settlement

-Approval of 1st Reading of a Budget Amendment Ordinance #1 for FY 2020 in the amount of $478,362.00

-Approval to hire a seasonal (9 months) intern from Butler County Tech School, less than 100 hours per month, on a 30-day probation period. -Pay rate of $7.50 Recommendations from Phillip Stagner

-Bills and Transfers



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