Water department reports spark Snead council actions

The Snead Town Council considered several water department matters in its latest meeting. Initially, the council declined assistance on reducing a large water bill. (See related article for those details.) Utilities director Jeff Whited presented figures detailing partial costs for installing new service. At the council’s prior meeting, Whited had indicated the council might wish to increase charges for such services. He alleged costs were exceeding charges.

The figures he provided indicated with the new, more expensive radio-read meters, the town would lose money on two of the three different types of installation. The department currently charges $400 for same-side, 3/4- inch line hook-ups. The new meters add $140 to town costs and would increase expenses for such to more than $630. Even under the prior costs, those totals already exceeded costs by more than $80.

The other two categories involved opposite roadside connections. Those connections require boring under pavement. The town has been charging $1,000 to bore under state or federal highways and $800 for boring under town or county roads. Whited’s figures show the county road boring charge still covers department costs, but the state boring fee does not

After some discussion and sought-for recommendations from Whited, councilors agreed to raise charges on the two categories. Members voted to increase same-side charges to $650 and state highway bores to $1050. Whited also reported on efforts to obtain bids for ballpark lighting and water tank painting. Councilors have agreed to have new lights installed at the town ball fields. They have expressed interest in pursuing a lease-purchase arrangement for those lights and are seeking bids beyond the initial quote received from Musco Lighting. Whited held the lighting bids, which are to be submitted to town engineer Robert Nelson, should be available for review by the next council meeting on Nov. 9. The outer tank painting project is in its beginning stages.

Whited advised the council of a department employee’s continued attendance at sewer certification school. The council has requested that department employees become certified in both water and sewer operation to provide back-up possibilities in emergency or other situations.

Town clerk Rae Ware advised the council of an invoice for work on the water line extension on King Road. That invoice exceeded previously authorized payment by almost $10,400. The council quizzed Whited on that charge and then approved the addition. Ware explained to the newspaper that beyond a fire hydrant installation charge, not considered earlier, the extension ran 235 feet farther than had been estimated.

The council approved a $31,119 bid for a new F-150 4×4 pickup for water department use. The four-wheel drive will serve as the primary work vehicle for Whited.

Police matters

Police chief Alan Hicks reported the resignation of officer Marcus Hudgins. Mayor Curtis Painter advised he had begun advertising that opening, hoping to have a replacement available on Oct. 31, Hudgins last work day. Hicks noted he is awaiting word on academy acceptance for recently hired department employee Matt Smith.

The chief sought endorsement for his intention to continue service with the Clear program for 36 months at $140 a month. That program helps provide information on outstanding warrants and locations of suspects. Hicks, along with officer Corey Hathcock, indicated they have not found the other computer program (leadsonline) beneficial. The department terminated that program after a 30-day trial period. Hathcock explained that few pawn shops now inventory items with leadsonline.

In final actions, the council approved one-year agreements with the Blount County Economic Development Council and the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce of $1,686 and $150, respectively.

Councilman Tim Kent missed the Oct. 26 meeting. All other council members, Painter, Phillip McHan, Greg Ogles, Charles Sanders, and Dale Snead, attended. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the community center building.