Thursday, January 15, 2009
City leaders address potholes, sewer collapse
By BARRY BURLESON
Potholes, sewer problems, the city’s web page and sales tax revenue were a few topics talked about during last week’s meeting of the Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said the “unusual rain season” had caused a rash of potholes in city streets.
“The ones we fixed today, we fixed last week, too,” he said. “Cold mix, hot mix, you name it, we’ve put it down. It seems like we’ve fixed the same ones two or three times.
“I hope the rain subsides so we can battle the problem areas some more. We’ve been battling against the elements.”
DeBerry said the street department has worked the major thoroughfares first – where the most traffic goes.
“In defense of those guys – they’re trying to stay on top of them.”
DeBerry said he received several claims concerning damage to automobiles.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun said his phone had been steadily ringing concerning the potholes – from flats to bent rims.
“There are several on major thoroughfares that you could break an axle on,” Colhoun said.
Mayor DeBerry urged Colhoun and other aldermen to give him a list of the pothole problems, and “we will prioritize.”
John Collins, head of the Holly Springs Utility Department, told the board that emergency measures had to be taken to fix a “caved in” sewer line underneath the concrete street at Walthall and Roberts.
Emergency measures included using a camera to find where the line was actually broken down, excavation work and bypass pumps.
Aldermen officially declared the work an emergency.
Don Hollingsworth, public works director, said the sanitary sewer pipe is terra cotta, and after many years, the joints break down and get roots in them.
“This caused sand to fill into the pipe and a void is created under the concrete streets which were built in the ’30s,” Hollingsworth said. “Asphalt streets would just cave in where the leak is.”
He said the collapse filled the line with sand to the west on Roberts. Thursday, Hill Service Plumbing and HVAC was on hand with machinery to suck all the sand out.
“It should be wrapped up soon,” Hollingsworth said.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said these type things are going to keep happening in a city founded in 1835.
“We’re an old city,” he said.
Ken Robinson, technology coordinator for the city, said development of a new web page is well underway. He said the department will order the hardware needed at the end of the month.
“We were outsourcing it before, on another company’s server; now it has to go on our server,” Robinson said.
Alderman Colhoun said a lot of corrections need to be made to information on the web site.
“A lot of things need to be updated, too,” Robinson said.
“I think you will be pleased. It won’t look anything like the one you see now.”
Tim Liddy asked if in-house employees were doing the work, and Robinson replied, “Yes.”
The mayor and board suggested more information about the various city departments be put on the web site - including such things as policies, procedures, fees and utility requirements.
Mayor DeBerry said more and more people are visiting cities “based on what they see via the web.”
Alderman Liddy asked city clerk Belinda McDonald and Mayor DeBerry about the city sales tax revenue. He said he has seen where many cities are facing declining revenues.
Mayor DeBerry said Holly Springs’ sales tax revenue has been consistently less in the past few months – approximately $5,000 down per month.
“That’s not bad,” Colhoun said.
“It could be worse,” DeBerry said.
Following the meeting, McDonald provided the following figures for sales tax revenue received for the city’s coffers in December, November and October 2008 (from sales in November, October and September), compared to that same period a year ago.
“We’re blessed,” McDonald said. “Other cities are suffering larger drops.”
In other business, aldermen:
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