January 9, 2003

City Council Approves Installation Of Turbidity Meters At Water Plant

The January 2 meeting of the Memphis City Council was dominated by department reports with the city superintendents informing the council of numerous upcoming issues.

Water superintendent Dennis Howard informed the council of new requirements at the light plant that are mandated by the new Clean Drinking Water Act.

Howard stated the plant will require a pair of turbidity meters that will be computerized and will monitor the plants turbidity on a regular 15-minute cycle, 24 hours, seven days a week.

The city has until 2003 to come into compliance with the legislation. Howard told the council he has a valid price quote from Hawk that would lock in 2002 prices until January 20.

The department had budgeted $15,000 for the project but Howard indicated the meters were priced at only $5,888. He noted that the price was much lower as the plant did not require chlorine analyzers and would need only two turbidity meters, not three like the department had originally been led to believe.

The only added cost might be a computer upgrade at the water plant in order to run the required software and keep the automated metering records produced by the new meters.

While the city is not required to install the new system until the end of the year, the council voted 4-0 to purchase the meters and go online as soon as possible.

Street Department

The street department is installing a new storm drain at the intersection of Knott and Madison streets. The drain is completed at one residence but further progress has been delayed. The city crew is waiting on the cable company to move some lines.

Superintendent Roy Monroe requested permission to begin gathering bids for the purchase of a new lawn mower. The council budgets to replace one of the department's lawnmowers each year.

"It usually takes two or three months to get the bids together so I would like to get started," Monroe said. "The trade-in unit has more than 830 hours so it's time."

Line Crew

Superintendent Dave Kittle told the council that the third unit has gone out on one of his trucks. It will cost approximately $700 to replace.

Police Department

Police Chief Steve Snodgrass stated the PD investigated a number of cases during December. Officers made one DWI arrest. They investigated three cases of vandalism and one theft while assisting at the scene of two fires and on four ambulance runs.

New Business

The council did take care of two items under the new business portion of the agenda. Bids were opened on the light plant's old computer. The council accepted the high bid of $36.09 from Teresa Skinner.

The council also voted 4-0 to officially appoint Scotland County Prosecuting Attorney Kim Nicoli to serve as the city's prosecutor.

Alderman Reports

Alderman Patty Simerl reported the fire department is requesting the installation of a new water line at the department's second garage.

Fire Chief Mark Drummond asked Simerl to request the council approve the installation of a two-inch water line as secondary fill line at the site.

Howard stated the line could come directly from the street but would costs about $1,600 to install. He noted the line could be bored in under the floor from the main building at a cost of less than $500. The second option would flow off the existing water meter at the station and would not require a new meter.

The council agreed to pursue the cheaper method if it met the fire department's needs.

Simerl also reported stray dogs near her residence. She noted they had got into neighbors trash and told Chief Snodgrass that they apparently had no homes and needed to be picked up.

Alderman Mike Stone passed on a complaint from a citizen about the street conditions on the northeast corner of the square. The citizen questioned why the road was so bumpy.

Monroe stated the problem likely was caused by faulty materials when the new surface was laid.

"The oil they used to tack the new blacktop down wasn't sticky enough," he said." It needs to be milled out and replaced. The oil did not stick and the top layer of black top slid on the layer underneath."

Alderman Ron Gardner asked about any developments on the council's November discussions regarding work on the water tower. Howard had provided information regarding divers that could clean and repair the water tower interior without taking the facility out of commission during the process.

At the December meeting he informed council members that he had received a list from DNR for companies that provide this service. However he noted his DNR contact was not in favor of this process. Howard stated the city needs to have the water tower inspected, regardless of the method, likely by next spring.

Alderman Teresa Skinner told the council that the no parking sign on Missouri Avenue was not being obeyed. Chief Snodgrass stated he would review the situation.

Skinner also commented on concerns of citizens regarding the city's meter reading process. With the change in the meter reader position, several homeowners have seen unfamiliar faces entering their residences to read meters. She suggested providing city employees with ID tags.

Howard stated the city has more than 1,000 meters in use with more than half of them requiring the meter reader to have direct access to the property. The city has installed more than 300 of the automated meters but at a cost of more than $100 it will take time to get the city completely automated.

Mayor's Report

Mayor Ron Alexander stated he is working on a grant to provide new playground surfaces for the city's parks.

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