Snead approves $360,000 meter-purchase loan

Voting to complete the purchase of radio-read meters for its utilities department, the Snead Town Council agreed to borrow $360,000 from Liberty Bank. The loan will permit the addition of around 1430 meters to the more than 300 already purchased and installed.

Town clerk Rae Ware emphasized the timeliness of the purchase, noting that the previously prepared March quote would expire Oct. 15. She theorized that hurricane destruction on the East Coast might push pipe and meter prices higher.

She and utilities head Jeff Whited expressed their belief that the improved accuracy of the meters would recover costs within a relatively short time. At a prior meeting, Whited had contended that some water suppliers claimed they had matched their costs within a yearand a-half of installation. Whited also noted the radio-read will reduce man hours on that task (from seven days to one), vehicle use and expenses, and challenges to reading accuracy. Whited suggested the town set the anticipated increased revenues for loan payments. Liberty offered the town a set interest rate of 2.99 percent.

An independent contractor from Gadsden has set the meters at a price below that of supplier Empire Pipe. According to department employee Ty Webb, installation should take no longer than three months.

Councilor- and mayor- elects Ann Sullins and LaShone Price asked of covers for the meters, noting that some meters in town no longer have theirs. Whited explained the service contract advises customers they receive a cover free with service but that any additional will have to be purchased.

The newly elected and council members present indicated they do want the covers installed. Whited said covers retail for around $28.

Price had asked the council to withdraw its request for an attorney’s general opinion on his use of town-funded police escorts from his funeral home. On advice from town attorney Brett King, who theorized the AG office may already have acted, the council decided not to withdraw the request. Price has held the request contained inaccuracies and sought the council substitute a more detailed inquiry.

Councilors met in a budget work session prior to the regular meeting. In the regular session, they did approve budgets covering five broad categories totaling $2,686,693. [More details on those budgets will appear in an article next week.] They also held a special 6:30 p.m. meeting to officially canvass the Oct. 4 runoff election. Sullins won that contest with 89 votes to Dwight “Trey” Christian’s 65.

Councilman Tim Kent expressed appreciation to the police department for its work assisting the county in searching for two escaped inmates earlier in the month. Councilors approved placing two certificates of deposit with Liberty Bank paying 1 percent interest. They also approved spending $400 for Trunk or Treat candy for the usual Halloween event at the town park on Oct. 31.

Councilmen Greg Ogles and Dale Snead missed the Oct. 10 meeting attended by Mayor Curtis Painter and councilors Charles Sanders, Phillip McHan, and Kent. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.