The board chairman of the newly-organized Todd County Natural Gas District says the now nine-member group is moving forward with plans to create a gas line to serve Todd County and neighboring Clarksville.
"What we'll be doing is setting up the plan of action on the forming of the structure of the organization as well as the finances (and) the pre-work before anything goes in the ground," Eston Glover explained.
Glover said the district hasn't yet purchased any ground where the gas line will be installed. A first step will be having an engineer design the line, he said, and the board will then consider its feasibility.
If it is feasible to establish the line and if funds can be procured for the project, then officials will proceed with plans for the gas line.
Glover said he believes the district and the project are so new that he's not sure many people know what the board is trying to do.
And he said the new gas line isn't a guaranteed thing.
"We may get into it and find out it's not feasible to do, but we need to get into it and find out," the chairman said. "If we see that we can repay the cost of building it, then we'll move forward."
Glover said he doesn't know how much the project will cost.
The district recently asked the Todd County Fiscal Court to amend the ordinance related to the creation of the gas district to include four additional members of the district board who are from Clarksville.
Glover, along with Deana Power, Gary Traughber, Johnny Knuckles and Todd County Magistrate Jimmy Turner, are the original five members of the district board, and the fiscal court approved on first reading at its last meeting the request to add four new members.
The item is on the court's agenda for a second reading at its upcoming meeting Friday. If approved, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts will propose four individuals to Todd County Judge-Executive Todd Mansfield to fill those roles. Mansfield will appoint them with the court's approval.
Glover explained that Clarksville has a need for gas as well, and he said this line would give that community a redundant service and provide those Clarksville residents with a line to get gas into their city.
"They expressed a need in having a redundant supply, and we felt it was important to have them involved in the planning of this since they would likely be a user of the line," the chairman noted.
Glover said the new line would be owned strictly by Todd County.
Once established, the district will operate as a business, according to Glover, who said it will have employees or a contractor to operate it.
The chairman said he expects it will take two to three years before the new natural gas district, once formed, will serve customers.
He said the board's intent is for the district to be able to serve any entity that wants gas, but he said it'll reach out first to customers who want the gas, considering the feasibility and cost of getting it to them.
Among the district's potential customers: the Novelis Inc., plant in Guthrie, which the chairman said is using a lot of natural gas in its aluminum processing and would need more if the company expands.
"We're hoping that they would want to be (a customer)," he said.
Glover said many industries use natural gas and won't consider locating in a community unless it has a natural gas source or can get it.
He said he sees a definite need for a natural gas line in Todd County when thinking about attracting industry to the community. But he said it's also a boon for farmers, small businesses and residents.
"I just see that there is a need, and the time seems to be right to provide an opportunity for our county and to supply our neighbors with the gas they need," Glover said. "All that we are trying to do in the end is give opportunities to our community to grow and prosper."
He noted that seats on the natural gas board are non-paying.
The district board meets monthly, and those meetings are open to the public.
The next meeting is at noon Tuesday at Elkton Bank and Trust on the Public Square in Elkton.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.