Area residents blast Snead officers over recent actions

In a lengthy session, Snead area residents and water customers blasted town officials over recent problems. Seven of the eight water customers listed on the night’s agenda spoke of their frustration over lack of water.

The most forceful of the speakers, Jeannette Kornegay, took credit for enlisting the outpouring. She said she had had a “screaming, hollering fit” that afternoon. The Kornegay Loop resident says she has at times been without water or frequently with very little water pressure. She alleged that she has learned from experience that cleaning a screen of trash usually solves the problem. She said she suggested that be checked when she first called on Friday morning before Memorial Day. That was not done until Monday morning, and Kornegay says that doing that solved the problem.

County road 41 and Tanyard Road residents Melvin League, Charles Morton, and Anthony Flack noted that they have frequently been without water. League, who spoke longer than the other two, asserted that since he has been on city water, he has been without water more than with. Flack, in his comments, noted he has a medical condition that requires him to be in a clean environment. He asserted that he has been unable to wash dishes, clothes, or bathe for days at a time. He noted that in the past six days, he had had water only one.

Utilities supervisor Jeff Whited opined possible solutions. He believes the problems cannot be fully resolved for at least a year. Saying he does not know the solution, he envisions either a booster station or an additional storage tank, with another well as the ultimate answer. He conjectured that the station or tank solution would cost $100,000 each.

Mayor Tim Kent continually questioned, “What do we need to do right now, to get these people water?” Whited said he has found that when he has the pump on county road 34 running only at night to fill the tank serving that area, those customers on county road 41 and Tanyard have water. When he runs it during the day, those customers run out of water. He said he planned to leave as soon as the meeting was over and arrange to run the pump that evening.

Whited also noted that, if necessary, the department could get a tanker of water to the 41/Tanyard residents. As for the Kornegay Loop area residents, Mayor Tim Kent directed Whited to have the sometime clogged screen checked weekly.

Stephanie Bailey challenged Whited on her perception of his lack of effort and decisiveness over the problem. Whited defended himself by identifying the hours he had worked on the problem and the breakdown of communication between him and a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Kornegay.

Councilman Jack Freeman conjectured that the flushing of fire-hydrant lines may have contributed to the problems.

The discussion returned to a frequently posed question relating to Snead’s future water needs. Freeman would like for the town to enter an agreement with Douglas to purchase more water from that Marshall County municipality. Other council members appear to favor having the town find its own source. Whited advised that the City of Oneonta as well as Douglas has offered to sell water to the town. Kent said he was told by at least one Douglas water official that the town has in the past purchased some of its water from Boaz.

In response to Freeman’s query seeking permission to speak with Douglas about expanding Snead’s water purchases, Kent countered. He said he wanted to have a Douglas representative come speak with the council.

With the water controversy calmed, Freeman Drive resident Margaret Humbard dramatically pled her case. Humbard expressed outrage over the cutting of vegetation on her road. She questioned the need for and severity of the cutback. In discussion with The Blount Countian, Humbard explained that it was county crews who did the cutting, but continued to question the reason.

Kent had told Humbard there had been several complaints about the growth along the road shoulder and the threat it posed to passing traffic. Humbard contended that the road has little traffic, that drive residents should have been consulted, that her sister who meticulously maintains her vehicle had no complaints, and that the cutback was “extreme.” Kent promised to visit the scene but noted that it will grow back.

The town agreed to continue its insurance coverage with Reedy Morris Insurance or its successor. Town clerk Rae Ware noted the premium had increased a modest $462 of its $44,221 total. Freeman relayed a complaint of an agent who said she would like to have bid but was not provided information on the coverage. Ware contradicted that point, saying while one had asked for information last year, none had asked her about the policy this year.

In voted actions, the council authorized expenditures for the police chief’s annual conference hotel, an estimated $650 repair to a police cruiser’s air conditioning, service on a fire department extraction tool ($400), and sanding and planting on the town ball fields ($1000).

Freeman questioned the disallowance of $100 reimbursement he had paid his son for help in work for the town. He contended the disallowance is a misreading of the state ethics law’s intent. Kent asked to table that matter until he could make some telephone calls.

Council members James Campbell, Phillip McHan, Curtis Painter, and Charles Sanders joined Kent and Freeman for the unusual Tuesday, May 29, meeting. The council moved from its normal Monday session rather than meet on the Memorial Day holiday. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the community center.