Union Board votes to upgrade and keep County Line water system

By BY JACK TANNEHILL SPECIAL TO THE APPEAL,

The City of Union put the wheels in motion last Tuesday at their monthly Board of Aldermen’s meeting to upgrade their service to the County Line Water Association.

The $196,000 plan, according to Fontaine Engineering of Quitman, would satisfy the requirements of the Mississippi Bureau of Public Water Safety and allow Union to continue to serve the 175 County Line customers.

The improvements would include a new 30,000-gallon storage tank ($50,000), about 20,000 feet of new pipe and ($75,000) and the other parts needed to complete the work.

Mayor Wayne Welch outlined a funding plan that would include a $150,000 Small Municipalities Grant, $39,000 in matching funds from the city and $7,000 additional city contribution.

Union services about 175 County Line customers, and since December 2016 the city has been working to correct what the Mississippi Bureau of Public Water Safety says are deficiencies in pressure and pump capacity.

Neshoba County’s Central Water Association says they will assume responsibility for the bulk (about 135) of the County Line customers and Union can keep about 40 customers in close proximity to the existing booster station.

Central Water’s offer, which expires June 16, is contingent on Union contributing $50,000 to offset the expense of upgrades to the system.

Welch and Union Water Superintendent Jonathan Ferguson both urged the Board to accept the refurbishing plan.

“If we take the Central Water proposal, we lose the customers and still have the headaches,” said Ferguson.

Welch said that he felt the city would be better spending the $45,000 and retaining the customers and $4,000 to $5,000 a month in revenue than spending $50,000 and losing the business to Central Water.

In other action, the aldermen:

• Voted to make the right-of-ways at the intersection of Highways 15 and 492 a no-parking zone and to promote the moving of the various truck vendors who locate there to the ball field area on the east side of Hwy 15.

Their vote came after a presentation by Robert Carleton on behalf of his business at 921 East Jackson Road.

Carleton quoted Mississippi Highway Department accounts that put the traffic in front of his business at 4,900 vehicles per day and argued that the vendors contributed to a hazardous situation with people stopping and turning in the traffic flow.

He said it was both a safety issue and an inconvenience and hardship for his customers and clients.

“I’m not here to cause you any more problems. I’m not opposed to them doing business, but you’ve got 4,900 cars a day going through their and it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” said Carleton.

“There is a hazard there,” said Alderman Stanley Walker.

Alderman Rex Germany advanced the idea of relocating the vendors across the road just outside the municipal ball field.

Welch agreed with the proposal as long as the vendors had a city-issued vendor’s permit.

Following the vote, Welch said, “I’ll move them tomorrow.”

• Acted on two quick allocations. The first was $250 to the Care Lodge of Meridian to be used for the care of abused women and children.

The second was to buy a $475 advertisement in The Newton County Appeal highlighting emergency responders.

• Voted to sell a surplus dump truck.

• After a short discussion about properties that were always unkempt and most efforts to get them cleaned up had failed, Welch instructed City Attorney Doug Smith to research what the procedures would be to condemn them.

“If we can get it done, they’ll be gone,” he said.