LaFayette council approves water treatment project bid of $1,3M

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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On Monday, the LaFayette City Council held a public hearing about a request to approve a formal amendment to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. LaFayette’s grant writer Louise Campbell gave an update on the state of the contractor bid for the replacement of pipes in the city’s water treatment plant. 

A contractor accepted a bid of $1,322,000. The grant amount from ADECA is for $450,000 and the city added an additional $60,000 to the budget. According to Campbell, the current bid comes after much negotiation. The resolution to approve the amendment was passed.

Another option for the city was to reapply for the grant with a different budget and scope or work.However, Campbell said there is no guarantee that the second grant application will be approved. 

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Councilmember Michael Ellis asked Campbell if the project will improve water quality across the city. He said that two of his neighbors on Crabapple Ave complained of murky water in their homes. 

Campbell said that the project will help with the water quality for most of the city, but more work needs to be done. The project is more expensive than Campbell anticipated.

“It is expensive but man, it is needed,” Campbell said. 

The distribution lines cannot be replaced until the corroded pipes are mended.

Also, during the public hearing, Chris Sanders from the city’s electrical department spoke to the council about a case of theft of service. A LaFayette citizen turned their water and electricity service back on after failing to pay their bills. After being caught, the individual paid their bills.

Sanders and Water Distribution Superintendent Richard Chapman asked the council how they should handle cases like this in the future. Initially, Mayor Kenneth Vines told them to follow precedent, but during the hearing, the council members said that individuals should be processed as usual. 

“Stealing is stealing,” said Council member Tammie Williams. 

According to Sanders, at least one citizen misses their payment every month. However, people are only caught turning their power back on a couple of times a year. Ellis suggested removing the meter and replacing it with a blank.

Mangram also said that unqualified individuals tampering with the electric meter can be dangerous. If a citizen is electrocuted while attempting to turn their power back on, the city could be held liable. 

“We need to have a preventative measure where basically customers cannot turn their power back on,” Mangram said.

During the hearing, Street, Sanitation and Cemetery Superintendent George Green requested that the council approve the purchase of a non-commercial driver’s license truck from Peterson Company in Florida. 

The price of the truck is $197,000 with a two percent discount through Sourcewell. The purchase was approved by the council.

“We need a new truck,” Ellis said. “I’m sure all the people in the city are tired of seeing this stuff sitting on the road, in front of the house or whatever for months and months at a time.” 

The TL2 garbage truck is a one- or two-man truck and is smaller than the other trucks the city currently has. While this means it has a smaller carry capacity, it will be easier to maneuver out of dead-end streets. 

Because the truck is a non-CDL vehicle, the city’s regular personnel will be able to drive it without requiring an additional license. 

At the end of the meeting, Williams asked the city lawyer Joseph Tucker if he had reached out to the leaders from the city of Valley and Chambers County School District to arrange a meeting to discuss the consolidation of the high schools. Tucker said that both entities said they would get back in touch but have yet to reach out.