Future water access remains big issue for Snead

Once again the Snead Town Council examined the question of the town’s future water access at its latest meeting. Utilities department head Jeff Whited pressed the question of the town’s seeking another well. Whited had reported previously that a well tested earlier had not met state requirements. He again asked if the council wanted him to seek a geologist to try to find another site.

When asked of the cost, Whited estimated the geologist would likely charge around $20,000. Councilman and former mayor Curtis Painter indicated he would like to know the cost of drilling a well. Whited again offered a figure, estimating that would run between $700,000 and $1 million.

Councilman Jack Freeman expressed opposition to the well, contending the town could increase its water purchases from Douglas to cover needs long into the future. Whited’s responses suggested he feels the Douglas option unreliable and potentially too expensive.

The exchange continued for some time with most councilors involved. Freeman offered, “I want a couple of [Douglas water] board members to come to a council meeting and tell us what they will do.”

Mayor Tim Kent added, “I’d love for us to be self-sufficient.”

The discussion ended with no plan for any future action.

In the absence of fire chief Lee Netherton, councilman Charles Sanders, whose responsibilities include coordination with that volunteer department, suggested the council consider raising Netherton’s stipend. Sanders explained that Netherton does much more than most realize, a point echoed by police chief Phillip Weaver, who offered specific examples of the fire head’s help to the police.

Councilors spoke willingly of an increase but rejected Sanders suggestion of raising the pay from its present $100 a month to $250. Councilman James Campbell finally offered an eventually successful motion to double the pay to $200 a month.

With Campbell expressing opposition to any pay increase for the future council, the present pay will remain for the council and mayor elected this summer. State law requires pay increases for future councils must be completed by February of the year of the election. Campbell’s position prevented the council from voting on the issue, since members had waited until the last possible meeting to act and would have needed unanimous consent to consider the required resolution.

The council agreed to surplus two police radar units and purchase one new to replace them. They also agreed to repair a 1994 F-350 flatbed truck before offering it for sell as surplus. Weaver offered to check on the price of sound systems, at the mayor’s musing over the wisdom of having one for councilors and audience members who might have trouble hearing council discussions.

Members also agreed to contract with Steve Ellis of CityTech for at least two days to conduct on-site training for town employees at a cost of more than $600 a day. They also acceded to Freeman’s request to appropriate money for repair of a building used at the town ball field at the old Snead school. Kent made a motion setting that appropriation at $750, although Freeman had said the cost should be below $500.

In other action, members approved Weaver’s request to name Rob Sandusky to the police reserve, pending background and physical examinations. Kent urged all to congratulate the Susan Moore wrestling squad for its state championship, the first, he knew, for any team in Blount County other than Oneonta.

Kent also reported he had received a telephone call from Mrs. Shirley Brown asking the council to act on her refund request for payment made for excessive water usage. Brown and her husband Jim have appeared several times seeking redress of their perceived wrong. Kent explained he was merely informing the council of the request.

Asked by The Blount Countian of action taken in the council’s two called meetings of the week of February 20, Kent said the council had examined applications and interviewed for a town water clerk. He said the council had hired Lucretia Long for the position.

Councilmen Phillip McHan and Charles Sanders joined the other council members (Kent, Campbell, Freeman, and Painter) for the Feb. 27 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.