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Clearwater to operate Lanett water, sewer system

LANETT — The Lanett City Council on Monday approved a contract for Clearwater Solutions, LLC, to operate its water distribution and sewer collection system at an annual cost of $718,500 a year. The private company is presently under contract to operate the city’s wastewater plant.

A proposed contract for Clearwater was on the agenda at the council’s Dec. 21 meeting but was tabled to allow council members the opportunity to discuss the contract with Planning & Development Director Tony Chandler.

Council Member Angelia Thomas wanted the assurance that it would be a good deal for the city and that water department employees that would be moving over to Clearwater were satisfied with the change. Thomas said she has since been satisfied that it will be a good deal for the city. She said that Chandler told her that the numbers were good for the city. It had cost the city over $1 million a year to run the water department.

“I wanted to make sure that our employees who would be going over to Clearwater will be taken care of,” she said.

At a December work session, Mayor Kyle McCoy and members of the council met with Clearwater officials to hear their proposals. For several years now, Clearwater has run the city’s wastewater plant and at a lower cost than what the city was incurring by running the plant. Clearwater is proposing to run the water and sewer systems at lower cost as well.

Council Member Jamie Heard told the mayor that he had been getting complaints from citizens in his district about the appearance of Pine Hill Cemetery, which is located in the West Shawmut neighborhood.

“It needs cleaning up,” he said. “Some people are saying it looks like a trash dump. Something needs to be done.”

“We need a policy on what can and can’t be put there,” McCoy said, making the point that items that are left on graves need to be replaced from time to time or cleaned up by the city.

“We have spent money on the cemetery in recent years,” the mayor said. “There’s a new entrance way to the cemetery. What we need is a policy on what can and can’t be brought there and see that it’s enforced.”

McCoy asked for updates on the streetscape project. Jody Lowery said the new, wider sidewalks should be finished on both North Lanier Avenue and First Street by the end of next week. He said that sidewalks, curbs and gutters are going in right now in front of Yates Printing. Tony Chandler said that the old wooden power poles between the bridge over Tanyard Creek and the intersection with Cherry Drive would soon be replaced. “Work should be finished by noon tomorrow on the new concrete pole at the corner of Cherry Drive,” he said. “All the new poles should be up in two weeks.”

Jason Abernathy said that a lighting project on I-77 between Lanett and Valley should be finished over the next few days. He said that much of the work has been completed, but that some of the new LED lighting needs to go in on the north side of the Hennon King Bridge. The new lights are rectangular shaped and produce more lighting at less cost. The two cities are working together on replacing the lighting on Exit 79. Grant funding is available for this project.

Police Chief Johnny Wood thanked the Wehadkee Foundation for recently providing the police department with a $4,000 grant.

“We appreciate this support, and they have been doing it for several years now,” he said. “We can use if for any law enforcement need.”

Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen told the council that a new stretcher and heart monitor should be arriving in the next few weeks.

“This is going to be a big deal isn’t it?” McCoy asked.

“It’s going to be very good for both our employees and the patients,” Allen said.

Modern ambulance stretchers being made by companies such as Stryker make the jobs of EMS personnel easier, safer and more efficient. The stretchers are equipped with powered systems to assist with the touch of a button the loading or unloading of the cot.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18. Since that falls on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, it will be postponed until the following Monday.