Obion water system in need of overhaul

Obion water system in need of overhaul
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Obion’s water system is on the brink of collapse and recently-appointed Public Works Director Randy Evans is scrambling to keep the system running.
He provided the Obion City Council with a detailed report on the status of the city’s water system, and the report wasn’t very positive.
Evans explained the system has been deteriorating for years and currently the city is operating on only one of its three water wells.
Repairing all the problems within the water system is expected to cost well over $20,000. Evans said he would return to the council’s next meeting with a more detailed report and more specific cost estimates.
Members of the council indicated during Monday night’s meeting they are more interested in actually fixing problems within the water system than patching and making temporary repairs.
The bad news about the water system comes just weeks after the council approved its 2011-12 budget. The expense of repairing the water system may have to rely on a recent insurance settlement for the old City Hall building.
“I’ll call a budget meeting and we’ll talk about all this,” council member Patsy Barker said.
In a related matter, the council heard from Evans concerning city utility fees and a plan to raise those fees. Evans and members of the council have met and are considering raising the connection fee for gas service from $75 to $200. The water connection fee would reportedly remain at $75.
Evans explained the need to increase connection fees is the result of problems with rental properties in town.
He said he hopes to have a formal recommendation for the council in the near future.
Also during Monday night’s 90-minute meeting, the council approved on the first of two readings a new city ordinance dealing with hazardous and unsightly property. The four-page ordinance specifically identifies what constitutes hazardous or unsightly property. The definitions include overgrown grass or weeds, abandoned vehicles, furniture and appliances, discarded building materials and “sites whose condition of maintenance pose a hazard to the health and safety of the Town’s inhabitants.”
Violation of the city ordinance carries a $50 fine, and that fine can be imposed daily for violations.
In other action Monday night, the council:
• Was informed the city’s new Christmas lights have arrived and will be installed in time for the city’s upcoming Christmas parade.
• Discussed the need to establish a procedure to transfer utility accounts from being in the name of a deceased person. There are reportedly 17 accounts in the town listed under the name of a deceased person, and the council is considering a plan to have those accounts transferred to the name of a living relative.
• Voted to seek bids for a city-owned lot at Second and Main streets.
• Announced the council will begin working with the Obion Housing Authority and the Obion Industrial Board to establish better lines of communication between the council and the two city boards.
• Agreed to seek bids for a new air-conditioning unit for the firetruck bay at the city’s Public Safety Building and will also seek bids to landscape around the building.
Monday night’s meeting was opened in prayer led by council member James Depriest and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Glen Parnell.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.9.11

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