Lanett approves Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to include water and sewer

Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

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LANETT — The Lanett City Council had its first regular meeting of the new year Thursday evening. It was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday but was postponed due to stormy weather.

Mayor Jamie Heard and the council breezed through a light agenda, which included  items such as seeking bids on two needed transformers for the city’s water plant; renewing a line of credit with a local bank; and approving the city’s participation in a low-income household water assistance program.

Utilities Superintendent Allen Summers explained the need for the two new transformers. He cautioned that it will likely be a significant cost and that sometimes “the cheapest price won’t be the best option.”

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He said what’s needed are two pad mount, oil-filled transformers and that the purchase must be made from licensed, bona fide vendors. The transformers must meet with the latest standards of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The line of credit is with Renasant Bank and is something the city renews at the start of a new year. It’s for any amount not exceeding $300,000 and can be used in emergencies. The city has yet to draw any money from that line of credit.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is funded by the federal government and is available through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). It is locally administered through the Community Action Agency. For some time, the city has been participating in this program to assist low-income residents with their electrical and gas bills. The resolution approved on Thursday extended this participation to include water and sewer bills.

City Attorney Stanley Gray told the council he would provide written answers to questions that were asked about annexation at a meeting that took place on Dec. 28. At that time, the council tabled requests to annex some property off Phillips Road into the city and to hire a local engineer to draw up plans to extend a sewer line to the site. 

“This needs to be cleared up,” Gray said.

At a previous work session, members of the council asked how much it would cost the city to extend a line across Phillips Road from the Hampton Inn & Suites to the site. They were told it could be in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $200,000 and could be paid for with American Rescue Funds.

As many as five new businesses could be located on the site that is seeking to come into the city.

Council Member Tifton Dobbs asked if a proposed streetscape project on First Street could be revised in a manner that did not take away parking spaces in front of some businesses. Heard said consideration would be given to that.

Council Member Tony Malone wished everyone a Happy New Year. He also expressed condolences to Lanett resident Ron Van Zant, whose wife Judy recently passed away. Many people remember her as the long-time former manager for the Georgia Visitor Center in West Point. 

“She was a jewel for our entire area,” Malone said.

The council will next meet in a work session set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 12. The next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17.