Thursday, January 31, 2013
City OKs gas project, utility program
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen accepted the bid of Eubanks Construction to extend natural gas to about 360 new customers in the Red Banks Road and Humphreys Road areas.
The board passed resolutions for bonds to pay for the project.
In other discussions at the mid-January meeting, Holly Springs Utiltiy Department general manager Don Hollingsworth explained to the board that a GPS (global positioning satellite) system is needed to keep track of where service trucks are located in the field. It would be a safety measure when a utility worker is out working alone in remote areas, he said.
“So many times, where we have had a single service truck – a man with hooks on by himself on a pole – we need to know where he is,” Hollingsworth said.
Alderman Russell Johnson expressed worry that a worker would be out on a pole alone, without anyone on the ground to back the worker up, if there was an accident.
“We would like to have a bucket but sometimes we still climb if we have to,” Hollingsworth said. “Typically a ground man would be there and a lineman would climb. It is one man a lot of times in a bucket.”
Hollingsworth also asked for permission to establish Plus One, a program where customers can donate a dollar or more to a fund that would provide utility payments for customers in arrears on their utility bill.
Aldermen asked how it would be publicized.
Hollingsworth said HSUD would establish the Plus One but cannot advertise it on the customer’s utility bill. He said Catholic Social Services would screen requests and recommend customers who were truly in need.
“Typically, they do $100 at a time per family,” he said. “They try to spread what they have a long way.”
After further discussion, the board approved the Plus One program, in concept, to be moved forward.
In police matters, chief William Hollowell presented a candidate, Julia Humble, to fill a vacancy for an officer. He also briefed the board on progress in investigating several incidents of note.
The board voted to hire Humble, who will attend the academy for certification.
Fire chief Kenny Holbrook discussed the need to update the burglar and fire alarm at city hall. He said the system is aging. City hall was remodeled about 16 years ago after a fire, he said. The old security system circuitry needs updating but it is not cost effective to do so, he said. He recommended the city obtain a lease/purchase on a new system and the board approved the measure.
In tourism board matters, alderman-at-large Johnnie Bagley-Johnson motioned that Frank Busby be appointed to the tourism board. Aldermen approved.
The board also discussed health insurance policy renewals and the bridge plan, as the renewal date comes around in early February. Alderman Russell Johnson objected to renewing the plan without adequate time to study it. He asked for the matter to be tabled until he could read the policy.
Johnson said he was dissatisfied with the bridge plan that goes along with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy. Brokers explained some of the ways that workers could have fewer problems with the bridge plan if they present both their Blue Cross and bridge plan card to providers when they go for service.
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