Thursday, July 24, 2008
Aldermen approve utility studies
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen approved two gas studies last week to be conducted by Elliott and Britt Engineering.
One study will look at the short- and long-term feasibility of replacing the city’s cast iron gas delivery system. The other study will project future growth of the gas utility to determine where, when and if the Holly Springs Utility Department should extend natural gas service within the Marshall County area.
HSUD general manager John Collins said he recommended the studies to look at the cost effectiveness of upgrading the existing gas system and wanted information in time for the fiscal year 2008-2009 budget, if possible.
He added that HSUD has been assessing the need of expansion and maintenance and replacement of all utilities, including gas, water and sewer.
“I want to know what I need to budget this year,” he said.
The electric department has one large expansion project underway in Mt. Pleasant that is expected to be completed this year. The Coldwater Substation under construction will provide better service to existing customers, and in the long term, will accommodate growth in the Mt. Pleasant, Slayden and Red Banks areas - locations experiencing residential growth and expected to continue to grow.
Public works director Don Hollingsworth said the driving force behind gas expansion and system upgrades, as proposed, was the cost benefit ratio to continue to maintain the old system built in 1947.
He said about 35 miles of cast iron gas mains were installed originally. A study by Allen & Hoshall in 1984 projected the cost to replace the cast iron system all at once would come to $4.5 million, Hollingsworth said.
The board of aldermen approved both studies during executive session.
In other utility business, Collins advised the board of aldermen and mayor that electric workers in January 2009 will be required to wear flame-retardant clothing when working under conditions where flashing and arcing may occur.
He recommended the city hire Mid-South Consultants to conduct a study of the system to determine where flash/arc may occur and what type of clothing will be required.
Any worker with potential to come in contact with arc or flash must wear the new clothing, he said.
Collins requested travel and training for D. Miller to attend training in Jackson, Tenn. The seminar will train utility workers in compliance procedures to protect utility customers from identity theft.
The board approved the request to hire Mid-South Consultants to do the flash/arc study and to send Miller to the seminar.
Hollingsworth requested, and the board approved, advertising for bids on Phase II of the Natural Gas Extension project and police station renovation.
Phase II will lay gas service lines down Hernando Road to Red Banks Road and from there to Victoria.
The Williams Clinic on J.M. Ash Drive will be renovated for a new police station after the clinic moves into new quarters on West Boundary.
Hollingsworth said construction on the West Boundary extension to the clinic and Holly Springs Commons will not be let for bid until an environmental study is completed and State Aid (Mississippi Department of Transportation) approves construction start up.
Information technology business
Ken Robinson reported on recent activities in workforce development.
The forklift and welding courses are now turning out individuals who are work ready, he said.
A partnership with Northwest Community College has brought the program forward this year with three people trained in the courses placed in jobs, he said.
Those trained for forklift operations and in basic welding will be tested and certified by the state, he said.
“I believe we will be a pilot for the state in certification from the Information Technology Center, Northwest and the state,” he said.
Robinson said he expects a half million dollars worth of equipment to be brought to the site to expand programs and test while the city looks for ways to renovate the existing facilities.
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