Thursday, December 3, 2009
County OKs permits to extend gas lines
By SUE WATSON
Some residents bypassed by the natural gas service lines on Higdon Road and along Old Highway 4 will be put in service by the city of Holly Springs.
The areas were missed when the original project was initiated due to a shortfall of funds, according to Don Hollingsworth, public works director with the city.
“Residents don’t want to have to pay tank rental that comes due this time of year or refill their (propane) tanks,” he said.
The city will come in the house and convert all gas jets from propane to natural gas at no cost to the resident when the lines are hooked up, he said.
County supervisors recently voted unanimously to give permits for the work in both areas.
Residents on Brown and Jeffries roads who were missed when the city installed water lines will get water service. These houses were missed when the original water line was laid due to a shortfall in funds. Eventually the city wants to close the loop from the Higdon and Chewalla Road areas back to Holly Springs once the city has put in a new well and water tower that will provide a sure supply, Hollingsworth said. As of now, if there is a problem along the water line, many customers may be without water until repairs are made, he said. Once the loop is completed, fewer residents would be without water when there is a problem with the line.
While meeting with supervisors recently, Hollingsworth notified supervisors that a new bay station for GPS/GIS (Global Positioning System/Geographic Information System) mapping of infrastructure locations, buildings, and other data will be built.
A government or company can know the real-time location of its vehicle fleet and the employee at work, for example.
“You can collect information on everything in Marshall County and the service area,” he said. “We are the only city our size that has one.”
GIS has unlimited possibilities for use. For example, meteorologists use it to determine the paths of hurricanes and to predict a storm’s path. Police departments can find the patterns of criminal activities and assign more officers to high crime areas. A company can determine the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. Earthquake zones can be mapped based on seismic data input. Utilities can map the locations of lines, meters, fire hydrants, etc.
Hollingsworth said the bay station will cover a radius of 50 miles so the entire county will be available for mapping.
In addition to these discussions, the board of supervisors:
• authorized an application for a sewer grant for $900,000. An additional $950,000 will be needed for construction of the system that will serve old subdivisions in the Highway 72/Cayce Road area. If monies cannot be found, the county can refuse the grant, said county administrator Larry Hall.
• heard a request from Clencie Cotton, interim director of the Holly Springs Main Street Program, for county participation financially and through leadership. He asked supervisors for $2,500 yearly to supplement the Main Street Program and their participation as board members or on committees.
“This project focuses on keeping the money we have,” Cotton said, explaining that the total retail sales in the county is $321 million annually but that $197 million of that purchasing power is spent outside the county because of lack of availability of products or services in county.
The sales tax revenues on this additional $197 million is enormous, Cotton said.
The budget, to date, calls for the city of Holly Springs to contribute $26,000, the county to give $2,500, membership dues to generate $5,000 and merchants and Rust College to provide $3,500 together.
Banks are allowed to contribute $15,000 a year for two years under federal guidelines, he said. The board voted to take the request under advisement.
• listened to a request from representatives of Acme Brick. The representatives asked for a revision of depreciation values on large equipment, saying the company has ceased making brick here and at ten other brick plants until the residential construction business picks back up - perhaps in from four to six years. Demand systemwide has dropped from a high of 97 percent capacity in 2006 to a capacity of 47 percent this year, they said, causing the company to shut down half its brick plants and lose half its business.
Numbers of counties gave ACME additional depreciations ranging from 10 to 50 percent on their equipment at closed facilities, representatives said. The company has three employees in Holly Springs while it awaits an economic recovery in housing. It closed operations in January 2008.
Bill Mobley, executive director of Industrial Development Authority, advised that the local plant still enjoys freeport warehouse tax exemptions providing the same tax relief it enjoyed while in full production.
Supervisors added that the current tax valuation is built into this year’s budget, but some relief could be possible next year. A representative with the tax assessor’s office accompanied the representatives to do a site review that could be helpful to the company next year.
• passed a resolution in support of designating a section of Highway 310 as John Shaw Sr. Memorial Highway. The stretch of 310 begins at Highway 7 South and extends westward toward Harmontown to the Lafayette County line.
• approved a motion to pay the membership of county employees in Hospital Wings. The membership will cost the county $2,000 and act like a fringe benefit to help offset two years of tight budgets that saw county employees given no cost of living raises. The memberships will provide the cost of Hospital Wings transportation and trauma services to all county employees and their families and children under age 21. Hospital Wings will accept the amount insurance pays and not bill the employee’s family for any uncovered expenses which can range up to $4,000 a ride to the Memphis trauma center. Enrollment is contingent on supervisors finding $2,000 in its current budget to pay for the enrollment.
• authorized deputy Gary Byrd to be named as special investigator to the sheriff’s department. This designation extends his jurisdiction across certain non-jurisdiction lines.
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