Aside from approving the bond issue by a vote of 4-0, the BMA also voted 3-1 on the third and final reading of an ordinance to abolish the Rogersville Water Commission and to place the BMA over that department.
In essence, the full BMA will serve as the new Water Commission, but that change won’t go into effect until Sept. 1 in order to give City Recorder Glen Hutchins, who is also Water Department treasurer, time to make the transition.
In May and June, the three BMA representatives on the Water Commission, Mark DeWitte, Eloise Edwards and Craig Kirkpatrick, voted against abolishing the department, but Sells broke the 3-3 tie both times.
Edwards was out of town on vacation during Tuesday’s vote, and Kirkpatrick was out sick. DeWitte offered the only no vote.
How will the $2 million bond be spent?
During the Water Commission meeting Tuesday, which was held prior to the BMA meeting, Interim Superintendent Bill Pearson gave a report on some of his top priorities for the bond.
Pearson told the Water Commission that with BMA approval of the bond issue he will start working on a bid package for the items that will be paid using bond funding.
Pearson’s top priorities included:
1. Replenishing the backhoes, trucks and utility beds.
2. Replacing the Lena Drive sewer line, which extends from Christian Sells Funeral home to the east side city limits.
3. Refurbishing the Park View water tank, which will be cleaned on the inside and painted on the outside.
4. Upgrading the wastewater treatment plant diffusers, which feed oxygen into the raw sewage to help microorganisms/bacteria in the water break down pollutants. Pearson said two blowers are currently running 24 hours a day because the diffusers are inefficient.
Pearson told the commission that the Water Department’s match is a maximum of $89,000, but he said much of the labor can be performed by his staff, which will greatly reduce the cost of the project and reduce the match to an estimated $40,000.
“The old screen is holding up, but we’re still getting a lot of jail stuff down through there, and we have to suffer through that,” Pearson said.
The state mandated that both the city and county improve the screening system on Park Boulevard between the Hawkins County Jail and local businesses after three businesses were flooded in March of 2016.