Leachville Council talks water meters

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Robert Ballard with the Leachville Water Department presented the Leachville City Council with cost estimates of placing meters at Buffalo Island Central School in Leachville as well as the housing authority during its June 16 meeting.

The council asked Ballard to get the cost estimate at last month's council meeting when it was discovered several business, homes and the school paid flat rates instead of having their water metered.

Ballard explained the 89 apartments at the housing authority were built in the 1950s prior to the other apartment complexes in town and meters were never installed there. Instead housing authority residents pay $32.56 each month. He went on to say the way the housing authority is laid out all but 12 apartments could be put on a master meter but the 12 apartments would have to have individual meters. The cost of installing the 12 individual meters and master meter would be almost $7,000 while metering the school would cost $3,629.63.

"The problem with metering the school is that if the new school is approved then in a couple of years we will have a meter just sitting," Ballard said. "It's going to cost $10,514.50 to do both the school and housing authority."

Ballard told council members it would cost almost $24,000 to individually meter the 89 apartments. Council members questioned how the water bill be paid by the housing authority or if the sewer bills would be affected. Ballard recommended not doing the school, which the council agreed to do, and he suggested doing the master meter at the housing authority first.

"Everything is supposed to be metered," Ballard said. "If we were inspected we would be written up and possibly fined.

After some discussion the council voted unanimously to table the matter until the city finds out how the housing authority could break down the water and sewer bill and how much they currently pay.

Ballard also told the council that a man from Alan Fielding Electric in Texas would be coming to fix the probes in the tank at the water tower. He explained the water tower was struck by lightning. The water department's new aerator will be installed in July.

The street department has been mowing, picking up storm debris and helping the water department. Those wanting to put debris out for pick up should put it close to the road but not in the road or ditches for pick-up.

Alderman Tommy Stone asked the council to look into forming an ordinance preventing people from burning limbs, leaves and other yard debris in ditches. The council agreed to look into the issue saying burning in ditches clogs the ditches, damages culverts and the smoke is a hazard for drivers. The council also voted unanimously to purchase a new weedeater for the street department.

In other business Mayor Sheila Spurlock opened bids for the sale of the city's Ford Ranger and blue Chevy truck. After all bids were open Chris Cooper was the highest bid on the Chevy truck and Larry Whitehead had the highest bid for the Ranger. The council unanimously accepted both bids.

The council also agreed to look into raising the city's fire protection rate, which has been at 25 cents for 20 plus years.

Alderman David Wallace told the council he is looking into grant possibilities for a safe house for the city. He said after traveling around the county and surrounding areas he has noticed most have a safe house for residents and wants to research grant possibilities for Leachville. Mayor Spurlock said the city did get the grant for new tornado sirens but would have to get more bids on the project since it cost more than $10,000.

The council then discussed the need to trim hedges, trees and bushes that are blocking the view of roads and intersections. It also tabled discussion of repairing the Melody Theater doors located at the northwest corner of the facility until more bids could be gathered.

Alderwoman Ethel Hetler asked if something could be done about several abandoned homes in the city. Mayor Spurlock said those homes and business have been notified and the council would need to start the condemnation process on several of those places. Alderman Wallace said there was a complaint about the way the city's flags were being taken care of, but that has been fixed.

Before adjourning the council unanimously passed a motion to leave all allys in the city open. The July 4 fireworks will take place at the Leachville City Park at 9:11 p.m. on the fourth.

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