Thorsby Council to apply for sewer grant

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Thorsby Town Council voted Monday to apply for an Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) grant for sewer water rehabilitation.

The matching grant is a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for about $350,000, and the town would have to provide roughly $50,000.

Engineer Calvin Cassady with The Cassady Company Inc. told the council the project could be about $400,000.

The purpose of the grant is to stop ground water from entering the town’s sewer system and to improve water service in the area.

The council had to select one project—either sewer water rehabilitation or the demolition of the former Thorsby School building on Illinois Avenue—for which the grant would be used, if approved.

Those two projects were identified as some of the town’s most pressing needs, but only one could be applied for through this grant program.

Councilman Neil Benson made a motion to apply for the sewer water rehabilitation grant through ADECA, and councilman Glenn Littleton seconded the motion.

Councilman Marvin Crumpton also voted in favor of the motion.

Council members Nicole Hilyer and Randall Higgins were absent from the meeting.

Cassady also told the council that bids for a project to repaint the town’s water tank will be opened June 5 at 11 a.m. at town hall and then brought to the following council meeting for the council to review.

The tank was in need of updating, both outside and inside, to adhere to Alabama Department of Environmental Management regulations for regular maintenance.

Public Works Director Terry Jackson gave the council an update on the town’s mowing equipment.

“We’re down to one lawn mower,” Jackson said. “Right now, we’ve got one good mower and half a mower. I don’t think we budgeted for a mower. We were trying to make it through one more season.”

Jackson said the town’s mowers are used to cut the cemetery, ball fields, Richard Wood Park and along Highway 31.

In other business, the council:

•Heard a fire department report from Councilman Glenn Littleton, in Chief Lee Gunn’s absence. Littleton mentioned that the department’s annual Movies in the Park series would start Friday and includes eight movies this year.

Littleton said the department would undergo testing soon to receive a new ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating.

Town Clerk Crystal Smith said the town’s last ISO rating was 10 years ago.

•Approved the minutes, with two proposed corrections from Councilman Marvin Crumpton.

•Approved the Municipal Water Pollution Prevention (MWPP) Report, which must be sent to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) every year.

•Tabled a decision about participating in the statewide 2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday from Aug. 1–3.

•Tabled a decision to increase sewer rates for local customers. The town’s current sewer tap rate is $350.

“The cost of materials has gone up, and it has not been changed in 10–15 years, if not more,” Smith said.

•Heard from Nelson about a growing number of issues with properties in town limits that have not been maintained properly.

“I have a lot of complaints about properties in Thorsby that need to be cleaned up,” Nelson said. “When we do this, we need to know up front that we might be spending a lot of money cleaning them up.”

Nelson said once the town has “condemned” the properties, the owners are expected to clean them up; however, if the owners don’t, the town has to clean unkempt properties.

“We’re not an investment company, but you have to clean the town up,” Crumpton said. “It’s just something you have to do.”

•Heard from Thorsby resident Ronda Boomershine regarding drainage problems in her yard from a concrete pipe that frequently leaks.

“Over the years, the pipe has separated,” Boomershine said. “It’s like geysers when it rains.”

Boomershine asked for the town’s help in fixing the pipe to prevent the leaks.

“If the town would pay labor and equipment, I would provide material,” she said.

The council told Boomershine they would look at her yard and the pipe before they make a decision.

•Tabled a decision about signing an agreement with Alabama Department of Transportation that would allow the town to cut grass and pick up trash on Highway 31 in Thorsby.

•Approved to pay the bills, with a transfer of funds as necessary.