City working to ‘facilitate a partnership’ with county to fund water meter upgrades

Published 11:19 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022

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Elizabethton officials are trying to create a “beneficial” partnership to ensure county residents won’t see an increase in rates as water meters are upgraded.
City Manager Daniel Estes said that the city is working to “facilitate a partnership in a beneficial way” in changing out old water meters with an AMI meter that would help detect water loss and leakage, ultimately saving customers money on their water bills.
“Forty-eight percent of the county is serviced by city water,” Estes said. “Seven of the eight county districts receive some service with only District 2 in Roan Mountain being the exception.”
Estes said city officials requested $2.6 million from TDEC funding during the county’s recent town halls.
“We have offered to pay the matching portion of the grants so the county wouldn’t have to and have offered to provide our time and equipment to helping get water to some residents on Laurels Road,” Estes said. “The county would only have to pay roughly $300,000 of the estimated $600,000 cost to complete the project to cover the cost of material and we told them they could add that to the $2.6 million that we are requesting.”
Councilman Jeff Treadway said if the county doesn’t approve the TDEC funds for the city, residents could face an increase in charges.
“I think that the county residents that we serve need to understand that if the commission doesn’t approve the funding, there could be a potential increase to their bills to help cover the cost of the new meters,” Treadway said.
The Health and Welfare Committee is responsible for prioritizing spending of the $7 million in TDEC funds and $11 million in ARP funds coming to Carter County.
Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street also updated the council on a meeting with State of Tennessee officials last week regarding the proposed rehabilitation facility at the old Roan Mountain prison.
“Last Wednesday around 12 to 15 local mayors and myself traveled to Nashville where we met with Deputy Gov. Butch Eley, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, and we were the talk of Nashville,” said Street. “Deputy Gov. Eley told us that they were going to lease this facility for $1 for 10 years – the state was all in and now we just have to figure out all the specifics. All the cities and counties that put their Baby Doe money in will have a seat on the board and they will make the decisions going forward.”
After Street spoke, an amendment to the agenda was made and the council agreed to give the city’s share of the Baby Doe project, $389,000, to the project.
Other matters of business approved by the council included:
  • Giving the approval to accept the U.S. Department of Justice Small Rural Tribal Body-Worn Camera grant.
  • The first reading of 2021/2022 Budget Ordinance Amendment #1 for the Police Equipment fund regarding the Department of Justice Small Camera Grant.
  • Accepting Master Agreement between the City of Elizabethton and Master Service Company for sidewalk repairs on the 400, 500, and 600 blocks of Elk Avenue in the amount of $12,510.
  • Approving Amendment One to the Master Agreement with Elster Solutions, LLC for an additional 12-month warranty at no cost to the city due to meters that have not been installed with warranties that are expiring.
  • Accepting a bid and contract for repair of the Headworks Structure at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $178,400.
  • Approving a Professional Services Agreement with Mattern & Craig for State Route 91 resident project representation in the amount of $98,290.
  • Approving the sale of surplus electric meters to Covington Electric in the amount of $6,975 for 570 meters.

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