The City of Hazard may be striking a deal for cheaper natural gas after the Public Improvement Corporation, also known as the city commission, voted to enter into negotiations with two gas companies that will embark on a joint venture to supply the City with cheaper natural gas.
Last fall City Manager Paul Feltner announced during a meeting of the city commissioners that gas rates for the winter months of 2004 and for the first months of 2005 would rise dramatically. As a result, the City undertook to find a cheaper way to purchase gas to distribute to it citizens.
According to Feltner, this new possibility will not only provide for lower gas rates, but it will also provide a good, reliable supply of gas as well, but he indicated that the negotiation stage is just beginning.
In order to bring this supply of gas to Hazard, since there is no existing pipeline, the City will have to partially pay for the laying of a new pipeline that will stretch from Viper to Kenmont Hollow, while the companies will be paying for another pipeline that will stretch for approximately twenty-five miles into Leslie County. This new line will be connected to a line from Somerset gas, which in turn is connected to an interstate pipeline and will, according to City Attorney Paul Collins, "require a significant investment on the City's part." Collins further remarked that this proposal will be aimed at forming a long term commitment of at least five years with a fixed price, but noted that the City is not in the mode of agreement or finalizing with the companies yet.
Collins went on to propose a resolution to authorize the board of directors of the Public Improvement Corporation to enter into negotiations with the gas companies. The resolution was recommended by Feltner, and passed by the board.