Albany City Council continues to explore a major water project that could lead to more sewer service accessibility along a large area of the US 127/Albany Bypass.
During its regular meeting last Tuesday evening, February 4 with all members present, the council received a cost estimate for the bypass water transmission main for an area of the bypass from Monarch Engineer David Bowles.
The estimate included an area from around the Clinton County Hospital to the stoplight on Hwy. 1590, turning southward to Hwy. 738, then back to around Peolia Church at the Albany city limits.
The 12-inch water line project for that particular area was $1,223,000. Projected funding would be $425,000 in a USDA Rural Development grant and $798,000 RD loan.
Bowles told the council that if the project were extended, from around Crudewell to the north at the intersection with KY Hwy. 90 to the Hwy. 738 intersection and on eastward to the city limits, the cost would increase to near $4 million which could be funded over a 40-year payback period.
The council also discussed whether or not to apply for ARC (Appalachian Region Commission) funds to help with the project. However, Bowles informed the council that ARC funds were hard to get approved and can only be applied for in one-year cycles, with the next funding period not being until this November. He recommended the city apply through Rural Development instead.
The mayor and council also discussed the options of applying for the shorter distance water main extension which included the cost estimate they received last week, or to explore applying for funding for the extended area along the bypass.
Bowles said the current project estimate of $1.2 million would mean about an additional .65 cents per month in water bills to customers and estimated about a $1.25 increase with the extended route.
The council, in noting that the availability of water and sewer along the bypass may attract more business and industry in the long run, opted to explore costs for constructing the project from around Hwy. 90 north to Hwy. 738, a stretch of an estimated seven miles.
They also requested that Bowles do a cost estimate of the extended route and he noted he would put one together and get it to the city within a few weeks.
At earlier meetings, it has been estimated it may take up to two years to go actually obtain and put funding for such a project in place with construction time to take about a year.
The estimation on the shorter $1.2 million project included $938,000 in actual construction cost with just under $300,000 in other related costs including engineering design, inspections and contingency.
Following discussion on the bypass project, Albany Mayor Nicky Smith informed the council that a pre-bid conference on the new Albany Fire Department was held recently and some nine contractors had attended to obtain specifications for possible bidding on the project.
The bid opening on the fire station project was held last Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Albany City Hall, and on a motion by councilman James “Smitty” Smith, the council will have a call meeting in conjunction with the bid opening.
(A separate article on the bid opening held last Friday can be found elsewhere this week.)
The mayor also commended the Albany Fire Department for its work on Saturday, February 1 in fighting the numerous fires that were mostly weather related, and also the water department for the continuous work on detecting and repairing water line breaks.
Councilman Tony Delk also thanked, on behalf of the city, all those food businesses that supplied food throughout the day a week ago Saturday for the firemen while they were fighting the some dozen fire calls they answered that day and night.
Councilman Leland Hicks then asked the mayor if there were any type of tax breaks if a business decided to locate in the city and the mayor said they may be eligible for property tax deductions.
Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher then told the council that ASAP would soon be putting in a collection box, probably at the Albany Police Station, for residents to drop off old or unused prescription medications to be disposed of in a safe manner. More details on that project will be announced later.
Councilman Delk again questioned what, if anything, could be done about the activity that goes on around the recycling bins on Allen Street near the city maintenance building.
Mayor Smith requested police chief Ernest Guffey send the police department to do some extra patrolling in the area and also indicated there may be a surveillance camera installed to try and catch the activity that several residents have complained about.
Finally, the council voted to declare a 1994 International semi which had been used as a sludge truck, as surplus property and sell to the highest bidder, as is.
The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the public.