Thursday, February 11, 2010
City seeks $12 million for lagoon upgrade
By SUE WATSON
An upgrade of the city lagoon could be in the works for Holly Springs.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry presented the board of aldermen with a proposal to seek funding from Washington through the U.S. Corps of Engineers to increase the capacity to treat wastewater.
DeBerry said the city would ask for $12 million in funding from the Corps but the grant requires a 25 percent match. He proposed going to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to get $3 million to $4 million for matching and other funds.
The money would be used to make improvements at the city lagoon which has four more years left under its present permit for operation, DeBerry said. Once wastewater loads reach one million gallons a day, the city will have to be positioned to handle larger loads.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun motioned to seek the funding for the upgrade of the lagoon.
Larry Miller, supervisor of building and grounds for the city, discussed ideas for city beautification through several campaigns to fight litter and dumping.
He asked aldermen to go through their wards and get the word out that a clean city campaign is in the works. He will ask the street department to place “no dumping” signs in trouble spots, he said.
Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22, will be the day the city will promote cleanup week citywide.
He said some work at the cemetery will be done this winter to help mowers get across the area quicker.
The concern over repair of the main gate at historic Hill Crest Cemetery was brought before the board again. The mayor said he has requested two brick masons to provide information regarding the type of brick or stone and mortar that would be used to repair the stone columns at the formal entrance at the end of South Market Street.
He said the State Department of Archives and History will not grant permission for the repair to proceed until specifications are supplied. Meanwhile DeBerry defended his position of closing off the historic gate due to concerns over potential risks if vehicles were allowed to pass through.
The entrance from Market Street is too narrow for trucks and large vehicles to clear safely, he said. But, the cemetery has seven other entrances the public can use, four of which are suitable for vehicle traffic and the others for walk-in. DeBerry suggested the entrance on South Market Street should be for foot traffic alone, saying the entrance was designed for horse and wagon and buggy-size vehicles.
But the width of the entrance cannot be changed because the cemetery is on the register of historic places.
The widest entrance is below the hill on Maury Street, he said, and one that should be preferred for large vehicles.
In police news, chief Robert Pearson asked the board to approve the resignations of officers Daniel Hyde and Austin Clark.
Two officers were given permission to attend accident reconstruction training at Southaven.
Fire chief Ken Holbrook notified the mayor and board of some equipment upgrades that will need to be done in a year or more “to maintain what we have and if possible to get a reduced fire rating.”
He also discussed the need for a larger vehicle (Chevy Tahoe) for employees to use in traveling for training. Large amounts of gear are required to be carried along for the schooling, he said.
The board approved a request from firefighter Ralph Doxey to go to part-time status. Then, the board authorized advertising for a full-time career-track firefighter position.
In utility department business, interim general manager Don Hollingsworth praised electric crews and supervisors for a job well done in getting power back on early after the ice and snow two weeks ago. He added that tree-trimming, initiated by former manager John Collins, made a big difference in protecting against outages.
“The dividends are starting to show,” he said.
Power line crews left immediately after the all-clear signal in Holly Springs to go help restore power at Somerville (Tenn.) Electric Coop.
Hollingsworth also requested the continuation of efforts to upgrade the security at the utility office and complex. The upgrades will protect entrances and equipment and include a new surveillance system.
DeBerry asked the board for a resolution to request a release of the contractor from West Boundary Extended from curb to curb, but minus the landscaping completion so the street can be opened for traffic.
He said it is important to have the ribbon cutting and get the project closed out as soon as possible so the city can move more requests for funding ahead with state agencies.
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