Council sets Trick-or Treat hours

Posted October 13, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Albany City Council held its monthly meeting last Tuesday, October 6, with all members on hand, and again, water issues and projects dominated most of the one hour meeting.

Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher asked if there was any new information on possible discounts for senior citizens on their water bills when the rate hike goes into effect next month.

City legal adviser Norb Sohm said he was still researching whether or not such a discount on those bills could be offered and would know prior to the actual increase in rates taking affect.

The council then heard from local resident James Bray pertaining to a pair of trees that were on the city right-of-way on Allen Street, noting the trees were old and a safety hazard. He said it was not a matter of “if” but “when” they would eventually fall and possibly cause damage to travelers on that street.

Councilman Reed Sloan said he knew of a company who would cut both trees at $125 per hour, with the total work, despite the number of hours it took to clear the trees, being no more than $800.00.

On a motion by councilman Tony Delk, the council voted unanimously to have the trees removed.

Danny Stinson with the Kentucky Rural Water Association, who has been working with city water department personnel doing a study of the city’s water system, presented a summary of that study to the mayor and council.

The summary contained monthly usage of both plant “A” and “B” and a water usage breakdown.

Stinson noted the city did have some major water issues, especially related to water loss, and noted that 41 percent water loss, a higher than normal average, was occurring within the local system and gave some recommendations to help correct those water loss problems, which has also resulted in a loss of revenue in the water and sewer departments.

Kentucky Rural Water, as well as S4 Chemicals, the city’s new chemical treatment provider, is assisting the city in finding ways to control the water loss in the system.

Part of the summary noted, “Non-revenue water for the past twelve months was 41%. It is highly suspected that half of the loss could be attributed to under performing of inaccurate meters.

“Meter performance analysis indicates suspected meter failure. There were 152 meters (3%) that registered zero and 982 meters (21%) that registered 1,000 gallons or less per month.

“During the visit, technicians found several examples of dead meters, as well as meters that did not register water on low flow. Albany appears to be understaffed in the distribution maintenance section. There appears to be limited use of a standard operational water management methodology regarding water losses, meter reading, meter testing or meter replacement.”

Some recommendations made by the KRWA included:

* A complete automated water reading (AMR) system to increase revenue as well as free up much needed staff members for other duties.

* System zone metering is deficient. Zone metering that is in place is underutilized. It was reported that at least two of the 12 zone meters are inoperable, and that none of the meters in the system are AMR compatible or being read by telemetry.

* Many of the utility control valves are not operational or non-functioning, which makes it extremely difficult to isolate sections of the system to promote hydraulic stability. This makes positive water management (leak detection) much more difficult and time consuming. A valve study and rehab program, which incorporates a comprehensive flushing and valve exercising regime, should be strongly considered.

* While it is understood that these issues have developed over many years, a new direction in operational, managerial and financial capacity is imperative.

Stinson noted that if the city opted to switch to the automated water reading system, it would give other employees more time to look for and repair water leaks and do other necessary work.

Another official discussed the apprenticeship program, which would allow people to apply to work under current water department operators and gain certification.

She noted as well that the current water and sewer department operators had done an excellent job considered what they have to work with, such as older equipment and understaffing in their departments.

She said that water plant operators and employees are “critical in emergency and disaster response situations.”

There is no cost to enroll in the Kentucky Rural Water’s apprenticeship program and she noted that the Lake Cumberland Area Development District may have funds available to help subsidize trainees up to a six month period.

David Bowles of Monarch Engineers, during a brief presentation about ongoing projects, said “Money solves all the problems.” He continued by commending the city for taking necessary steps to fund the water system (referring to the increase in water rates).

The engineer also noted initial steps in the Duvall Valley project was underway and expected construction to begin sometime next summer.

He further noted there would likely be enough revenue left for a meter exchange program, which has been the subject of discussion for the past couple of years, and that funds to upgrade the water plant should be approved sometime next year, as well as USDA funding for the 127 Bypass project.

That project would see lines constructed from Crudewell to the north of the bypass to Hwy. 738 (Wolf River Dock Road) to the south.

In other business, the council:

* Voted to set trick-or-treat hours on Halloween the same as years past, from 5-8 p.m. However, it will be left to the discretion of homeowners whether or not to accept trick-or-treaters and parents as to whether to allow children to trick-or-treat on a full scale.

Councilwoman Thrasher also reiterated health department regulations, due to COVID-19, would not allow the annual Boo Fest on the square to take place, especially as in years past, but said organizers still may want to have something such as a “drive-thru” event for children.

(More details on trick-or-treating and Boo Fest will be announced as information becomes available.)

Councilman Gene Ferrill also asked about problems people were having around the Virginia Avenue area of not being able to receive internet.

The council agreed to contact Mediacom, the city’s cable provider, to see if there were enough homes in that area to give residents access to the internet.

Councilman Tony Delk also noted that striping was needed on the turning lanes from Sonic Drive-In to Nolan Street, with the city street department apparently to do that work.