The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 29, 2013

Athens City Council approves pair of water projects Monday

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— Two water projects — one designed to upgrade the city’s water-treatment plant  — received the go-ahead Monday night in Athens.

City Council members voted 4-0, with one member absent, to borrow $3.9 million from the State Revolving Loan Fund at an interest rate of 3.5 percent over 20 years. The money will be used to upgrade the city’s water-treatment plant so it can treat up to $14.8 million gallons a day. Water and Wastewater Manager John Stockton told council members the city uses an average of 5 million gallons of water a day. Peak use is about 10 mgd, he said.

The upgrade would extend the life of the current plant by 20 years or more, depending on the growth rate of demand for water, he said. The existing plant, built in 1965 and upgraded in the 1980s, needs an emergency backup generator, improvements to lights in the plant, a low-control splitter box and rebuilding of flocculators and filters. Stockton said the improvements also allow the city to meet the newer standards for the monitoring of chlorine in drinking water, which the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has requires.

Approving the borrowing were Council President Harold Wales and Councilmen Jimmy Gill, Joe Cannon and Wayne Harper. Councilman Chris Seibert was out of town and could not attend the meeting.

Also Monday, the council voted 4-0 to approve a capital infrastructure fund appropriation for the water department.

Stockton said the water plant needs to extend a 4-inch main on Edgewood Road to the water plant and supply a service tap for the generator if the Water Department will furnish the pipe. The pipe is expected to cost the Water Department $80,008, and the installation will cost the Gas Department $106,720.

In other business, council member took the following action:

• Voted 4-0 to grant a franchise to Capital Trailways, also known as Capital Motor Lines, allowing the company to operate its buses on city streets for three years. The company must pay a $25 franchise fee, business license fee and other costs associated with the publication of the passage of the ordinance. City Clerk John Hamilton was not sure if Capital would provide bus service to and from Athens, or provide bus service in the form of tours;

• Voted 4-0 to approve the Electric Department’s request to buy a bucket truck for $159,593 from Altec of Birmingham;

• Voted 4-0 to modify the existing telecommunications facility located at 1327 Alabama 251. AT&T wants to modify the existing tower which should improve data service for its 4G cellphone users, according to Mignon Bowers, who contracts with the Center for Municipal Solutions to administer the city’s telecommunications ordinance.