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Water, sewer problems top City Council meeting

The town of Mountain City Council met in regular session last Tuesday night. Troubles with the water and sewer system were the top items again, as the Board of Alderman now tackles the city’s telemetry system. Telemetry allows workers to monitor the fullness of tanks, and if water is flowing through the lines. Water plant manager Andy Garland came to the commission last month to bring up the subject citing its immediate importance. With the current telemetry system outdated and often malfunctioning city workers have to check the tanks and lines manually.
If a tank is dry, or especially in a situation where a neighborhood is fed by a continuous pumping station, residents can be temporarily left without water. Likewise, if the tank is too full it can overflow, creating unaccounted water loss. At the last meeting Garland suggested gradually switching to a cellular system that would report information back to a central location.
The council agreed to the project, approving an overall amount of $100,000 to be used over a period of time. Because some locations are in dire, immediate need, including the Pleasant Valley tank and the Fox Hollow pumping station, Mayor Lawrence Keeble informed the council that he had recently declared more than $30,000 of that amount as emergency use and asked for the council’s approval. Following their unanimous consent Keeble went on to say that the rest of the amount would be budgeted as an expenditure for next year’s budget.
Collection distribution superintendent Jerry Horne gave an update on a possibly malfunctioning meter at the Park Dale Mills factory. Because the meter has begun showing much less usage than in the past with no apparent change at the factory, Horne is concerned that the malfunctioning device is costing the city thousands each month. Horne had been given approval to do what was necessary to fix the meter at last month’s meeting, and after thoroughly going through its components determined that it is most likely a faulty meter head. The city had already approved funds to replace it.
At the request of a number of concerned citizens and the board of aldermen itself, Mountain City is implementing stricter actions against the distribution and sale of synthetic drugs in the city limits. After looking at the strengths and weaknesses of several local town policies, Mayor Keeble suggested implementing a moratorium similar to that used in Jonesborough. Because of that city’s recent success, Keeble suggested having the first reading of the ordinance immediately and setting a second meeting Thursday for the public hearing and hopeful adoption. The state is currently looking at legislation to do away with the substances across the board but because of the amount of time it takes the law to pass the general assembly, most local governments have begun taking action of their own.
There is an ongoing problem with commercial truck traffic using the former Highway 91, now Divide Road. With the opening of the new Mountain City bypass, commercial trucks are now required to use that road. Unfortunately there are still logging and gravel trucks that use the old highway regularly. Without going into great detail Mayor Keeble brought up the possibility of using restrictive classes. City attorney Steve McEwen confirmed that as long as there is an alternative route the city can limit the types of vehicles on city roads. The council’s main concern was traffic dangers downtown and potential damage to the roadway.
Pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk for the complete story.