Kenny Smith welcomes citizens’ input

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kenny Smith, manager of West Escambia Utilities, Inc., has been in his new position for a little more than three months, and wants citizens to know that he is always open to answer any questions they may have.

“I just want everyone to know that I’m here for them,” he said. “If they see me out in the public, I don’t have a problem with trying to explain something that somebody might not understand.”

Smith took over as the manager of West Escambia Utilities on Jan. 1, replacing the retiring Tom Wolfe. Smith has worked for West Escambia Utilities for 24 years in different capacities, primarily on the compliance side.

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West Escambia Utilities offers three primary services — water, natural gas and sewer. Smith said that about 4,000 customers use the water service, about 2,800 use sewer and about 1,000 use natural gas.

The West Escambia Utilities’ service area stretches as far west as the Baldwin County line and as far north as the prisons and Robinsonville, Smith said. Some of the largest employers in the Atmore area use some services from West Escambia Utilities — including the casino, the prisons, and major industries like Masland and Swift.

Smith said that he has been approached previously by citizens on other utility systems who are interested in possibly joining with West Escambia Utilities.

“If that opportunity came before us, and it was what the citizens wanted, we would definitely be interested to listen,” Smith said. “We think that everyone needs good quality water to drink.

“We’re not going to go out there and try to push ourselves onto customers with other systems. But if they seek us out and ask us about it, it’s certainly something we’d consider.”

West Escambia Utilities currently has 22 employees and is governed by a board of directors, which is appointed by the Atmore City Council.

Smith said that he wants his employees to put a focus on customer service, and hopes it will continue to improve as long as he serves as manager.

“The bills are going to be what they are, and there’s not always much we can do about rate prices,” he said. “But one thing that we can do, is give good customer service.”