City council meets last week

Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Albany City Council met last Tuesday, May 7 in regular session with all members present. The mayor and council members spent the majority of the one-hour meeting discussing water related problems and equipment needs for the water department.

During project updates, Kenneth Delk with the water department told the council that the department had repaired some 15 leaks in the previous week alone and at least 20 or more were in the process of being repaired in the coming days and weeks ahead.

Recently, Albany Mayor Lyle Pierce issued a call for residents who suspected water leaks or water thefts to report those problems and apparently many residents took heed.

Apparently most of the leaks didn’t just come up suddenly but have occurred over time and the loss of water due to the leaks is a growing concern among city officials.

Councilman Tony Delk noted that the city’s water department should be making money and said the high number of leaks was unacceptable and costing the department and the city in needed revenue.

Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher also suggested the mayor contact the city’s engineers to have them look into the problem.

The discussion of water leak problems also led to the council discussing with Delk and other city employees about equipment in need of either repairs or replacement.

Delk noted the city needed a better dump truck and also said the service truck was down. The need for a trailer to haul the backhoe was also mentioned.

Councilman Delk said that it was sort of a “pay me now or pay me later” when it comes to purchasing better equipment as he and other council members noted the high costs of trying to maintain broken down equipment.

Street department employees Brooks Ferguson and Jeremy Ferguson noted the city had a lot of old surplus equipment and suggested the city may sell those unused items as surplus as a way to help fund the purchase of better equipment that is much needed.

Following a lengthy discussion, it was decided to put together a list of items that could be deemed as surplus and council members asked the mayor to check on equipment prices.

The mayor also agreed to contact Monarch Engineer David Bowles about the water line leak issue.

The council also voted to amend a city policy and procedure ordinance allowing employees paid time off for funerals for extended family members, i.e., brothers and sisters-in-law and sons and daughters-in-laws.

They also approved first reading of an ordinance to declare President’s Day as an official holiday in the City of Albany.

Council members were also presented the 2019-20 fiscal year budget ordinance, which they approved on first reading.

The council will have time to review the budget and recommend any changes prior to its second and final reading and adoption, which will be held in June.

City legal advisor Norb Sohm also told the council that some letters had been sent to residents regarding areas in the city that needed to be cleaned up, including one on Hwy. 1590 and another on East Cumberland Street, among others.

The council then entered into an approximate 10-minute closed session to discuss possible litigation but took no action upon returning to open session.

While back in open session, councilman Delk said he had been approached by a resident of Hwy. 738 in the Clear Creek area about the possibility of having the city run a sewer line to the residence.

Kenneth Delk and Mayor Pierce both noted, however, that the situation had been looked into a few years back and because of the terrain and rocky area, it would take too much blasting and be a large, and probably unfeasible, project.

They also said it was uncertain if the state (Department of Transportation) would even allow a road boar to be done on a state road in order to get to the area in question.

Councilwoman Thrasher also discussed a gas main on Dalton Street that she noted looked dangerous, but it was noted the gas company had worked on that situation the prior week.

The council did agree, however, that the mayor should have contact information for the gas company representative who is from Jamestown, Tennessee, in case of any type natural gas line emergency.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the general public.