by Jim Kilgore
Jim and Shirley Brown once again appeared at the most recent Snead Town Council meeting to request a $528 refund from the town’s water department. The couple suffered a major leak along their water line in September and October. When the town declined to reduce the bill, the couple paid the approximately $2,000 bill.
After due consideration, the couple asked first the utilities department and then the town council to authorize refund of the $528. The couple contends they are due the refund by computations they made in line with water usage figures town utilities supervisor Jeff Whited made. The Browns argue the town should refund money for water lost between the time the town discovered the leak and a letter from the town was received informing them of the problem.
Mayor Tim Kent advised the Browns that the council has not seen fit to honor their request. In a previous session, no one would second councilman Jack Freeman’s motion to provide some relief to the couple. Whited told the council that the town’s New York bondholder would have to approve any refund, that it could not be retroactive without creating a dangerous precedent, and that the Browns’ refund and any subsequent refunds might force increased rates on all water customers.
In her remarks, Mrs. Brown alleged the council has not acted in the six months since they made their request and she promised to continue to press for an answer. In conversation with The Blount Countian after the meeting, Brown appeared to suggest that she wants the council to devise a plan to address such disastrous events. She holds that a $2,000 leak parallels severe-weather natural disasters.
Kent asked Whited to examine once again details and possible explanations for the leak. Whited noted that the meter has registered usage in line with the Browns’ readings prior to the leak and that he sees no other explanation for the loss.
Police chief Phillip Weaver reported his department served a search warrant and found a significant amount of illegal drugs. The officers confiscated several items during the search which will be used by the department or sold at auction. Kent, a deputy with the Blount County Sheriff’s Department, noted he had received word that the bust took out much of the drug traffic in Blount and another county.
The council approved fire chief Lee Netherton’s request to purchase two leaf blowers for use in fighting brush and land fires. He explained that other departments had found the blowers effective in battling fires not readily accessible by truck.
In Whited’s regular report, he advised the council of two sinkholes which need attention. The council agreed with Whited on the need for work to begin on the two areas.
Councilors approved Freeman’s request to begin work on a play field at the town’s main water tank site. Freeman has noted, previously, he believes that location important to the town’s future growth and wishes to put the field to use in the interim.
Councilmen James Campbell, Phillip McHan, Curtis Painter, and Charles Sanders joined Kent and Freeman for the March 12 meeting which was held at the fire station. Members decided to move the meeting rather than disturb arrangements made at the community center for the next day’s election. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m.