Thursday, July 19, 2012
Splash pad not ready for summer
By SUE WATSON
The engineering design for the City of Holly Springs splash pad has been decided.
It should open Labor Day weekend, according to public works director Micheal Crittle. He said the city has obligated funds for playground equipment and the splash pad out of money left in the Memphis Street project. The splash pad will be built behind the Eddie L. Smith Multi-Purpose Building on North Memphis Street and become a part of the Spring Hollow walking trail feature and the multi-purpose building complex.
Fresh water only will be used for the splash pad and not be recycled in order to maintain a sanitary water feature, Crittle said.
The splash pad will pump 100,000 gallons a day when in operation and be open during certain hours and seasons as determined by the director of recreation, he said.
Water will empty into the city drain system.
Aldermen considered the use of Sam Coopwood Park by the Jazzy Dance Academy for a carnival.
The plan is to use the baseball field areas and pavilion area, with revenues going to support the Jazzy Dance Academy children, who travel to competition. Proceeds would also help support local charities and churches. Admission is free.
The board of aldermen voted unanimously to allow the carnival to be held August 8-11 at Sam Coopwood Park.
City zoning administrator Felicia Autry announced the city’s comprehensive plan will be presented August 7 at 5:30 p.m. Any comment from the public may be made at this time, after which the plan will be adopted by the board.
In street department matters, supervisor Jairus LeaSure apprised the board that a mechanic is needed to fill a vacancy.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry suggested the city should consider advertising for a certified mechanic and not farm out so much work. Someone is needed who can work on heavy equipment and diesel.
Utility department general manager Don Hollingsworth suggested mechanics should be proficient in equipment maintenance, but big jobs like motor repairs are sent to qualified mechanic shops.
“We should be able to do more than change oil,” DeBerry said. “We should be able to do tuneups and change things like alternators.”
Alderman Harvey Payne suggested a good mechanic would know what could be done in-house and what needed to be sent out.
No action was taken but city leaders will decide during budget planning on the level mechanic it wants.
Ken Robinson, information technology director, requested a digital sign that could be read from the street to advertise courses and announce the location of the IT center. He said people miss the center when driving by looking for it. The old sign is unsatisfactory, he said. Cost of a two-face digital sign is quoted at $12,855.
In utility department matters, Hollingsworth recommended the board approve a $275,000 write-off in delinquent bills. About 70 percent of that represents uncollected electric bills, he said, while the other portions are old delinquent gas bills from manufacturing companies that have shut down.
As it breaks out, $193,000 of the delinquent electric bills and $82,000 is on the water, gas and sewer utilities, Hollingsworth said. He said the Tennessee Valley Authority wants to stop commingling of utility collections where the electric department accrues the uncollected bills for all four utilities.
Alderman Payne asked if the city is going forward on Plus 1, a system that lets customers donate a dollar to pay utilities for those who cannot pay their bills.
The mayor said he wants the utility to collect the donations and put it in a fund run by CREATE Foundation.The foundation would write a check to the utility after a delinquent bill had been approved by a screening service such as Catholic Social Services.
If each customer donated a dollar a month, only about $96,000 a year – one-third of this year’s write-off request – would be available to put toward delinquent bills, DeBerry said.
He said most people would donate to such a cause if they know the process is clean and above board. He said he will have a representative from CREATE to explain the process to the board in July.
The board then voted 4-1 to approve the $275,000 write-off with alderman Russell Johnson voting nay.
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