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City manager reflects on 2012 in Union City

City manager reflects on 2012 in Union City

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
The years 2012 and 2013 could be viewed as the year of projects for the City of Union City.
At least two projects are geared toward saving the city taxpayers’ money.
The Union City city council approved in 2012 the rehabilitation of the A.L. Strub Wastewater Treatment Plant. Bids were solicited and awarded to W&O Construction Co. in Livingston. The design and preliminary work began in 2012. The city will realize savings from using less electricity and chemicals.
City manager Kathy Dillon said this route is cheaper, at $2.7 million, than new construction estimated at $15 million.
“We’re currently awaiting scheduling of a preconstruction meeting and we anticipate the rehabilitation to begin within the next couple of months and for it to be completed this year,” she said.
Other water and wastewater projects include work on a lift station project on Old Rives Road and the installation of an overhead water tank at Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park.
The city completed a rail spur at the industrial park for Greenfield Products in 2012. It is expected the rail spur will increase business activity within the city. A new recreational facility, which was made possible by utilizing grant funds, opened at the industrial park and includes a walking track, a pond for fishing and a pavilion.
The city’s other fishing recreational area, Reelfoot Pond, was repaired during 2012. It was experiencing significant leaking, so the city had a hole fixed and installed a well to keep the water at an appropriate level. The city had been filling the pond with treated city water.
In another move to save money, the city retrofitted seven buildings in 2012 with new energy efficient lighting. It is expected to save the city about $40,000 the first year alone. The city will receive a portion of the cost through a TVA rebate.
The city laid the ground work in 2012 for the construction of a new Carey Counseling building in the city’s George C. Cloys Industrial Park. The construction will be paid for with a Community Development Block Grant and by Carey Counseling. Carey Counseling will purchase the industrial park property from the city when the building is complete.
The city saw the demolition of the aging municipal pool in 2012 and began replacing bleachers at the city’s parks, a requirement of the city’s insurance company. It also worked on improving the sound system at the Union City Civic Auditorium.
City officials are looking forward to the opening of Discovery Park of America in 2013. In 2012, the council agreed to help pay for curbs, gutters and a roadway which will connect to Everett Boulevard and will eventually be deeded to the city as a frontage road.
“I am looking forward to the opening of Discovery Park, along with the tourism and lifted economy I believe it will bring to our community,” Ms. Dillon said.
The city began collecting fees for rural fire service again in 2012 after Obion County, which had contracted to collect the fee for several fire departments in the county, stopped the collection service. The council took the opportunity to increase the service call rate from $500 to $750 for those rural customers. The subscription contract for rural fire protection will cost $75 per year. Union City will not respond to non-subscribers.
Inside the city limits, the fire department battled a fire hazard at Greenway Recover & Recycle in the George C. Cloys Industrial Park. The business caught fire twice and continued to fill the air with debris for several months. There were questions on whether items there could be harmful to the health of the city’s residents. The business, along with the city’s fire, public works and codes enforcement departments, worked together to solve the problem. Ms. Dillon praised the efforts of those departments and the city employees during a public meeting.
The city also dealt with the closing of a portion of East Main Street for several months after the roof on the former K-T building partially collapsed. The roadway was eventually opened.
Other items of significance which occurred during 2012 included the city’s eliminating the school zone on Reelfoot Avenue, the retirement of Police Chief Joe Garner, the resignation of water and wastewater director Jason Moss, the overhaul of the sign ordinance in the city, the repair of several railroad crossings, the city’s calling for residents to conserve water during a drought situation and the council’s increasing the property tax rate by 1 cent, but keeping the utility rates unchanged.
Ms. Dillon will continue work on securing general obligation bonds. The funds are expected to be used to pay to refinance the outstanding capital outlay notes issued to purchase the industrial park property; to finance the completed railroad spur; to finance various road improvements, including turning lanes on Everett Boulevard and the service road for Discovery Park of America; to finance water improvements, including the elevated water tank; and to finance sewer improvements.

Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at dryder@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 1.9.13

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