City council OKs debris pickup plan, $1.35M for relocating water main

Published 11:18 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022

BY ROBERT SORRELL

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The Elizabethton City Council approved a plan Thursday night to allow crews to pick up brush from local businesses.

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At the meeting Thursday, council members unanimously passed an ordinance to amend brush collection from non-residential properties. The city will pick up the first load of brush from non-residential properties for free. Subsequent loads of brush will cost $75.

The city manager, mayor and council members all said they have been receiving complaints from business owners who could not have brush picked up from their properties.

Danny Hilbert, street and sanitation manager, said this puts non-residential property owners on the same playing field as residential owners. The fees for businesses will mirror fees already paid by residents.

The city will not pick up brush that has been placed along the street by contractors, Mayor Curt Alexander noted.

Council also discussed a couple of major water projects in the city.

Members approved a motion to approve a state revolving loan fund application in the amount of $1,350,000 for the relocation of water main transmission lines across the Doe River in Valley Forge.

Water Resources General Manager Jonathan Pleasant said the department is replacing water lines that were installed in 1908. The entire cost of the project is about $1.9 million, he said, but part of those costs have been covered by an Appalachian Resources Commission grant.

Currently, two 12-inch water lines cross the river at Valley Forge. The lines connect the watershed in Hampton to the city of Elizabethton.

The council also approved resolutions regarding an automated metering project.

City Manager Daniel Estes said funding for the project comes from various sources, including $1.8 million that has been approved by Carter County from American Rescue Plan funds. The city had requested $2.6 million from the county, but the county commission only approved $1.8 million. Estes noted that the city is the largest provider of public water to county residents.

The city’s American Rescue Plan funds are also being used to pay for the project.

Council members approved a motion to an agreement with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. to include the metering project.

Pleasant said the bidding process has not yet taken place to replace the meters so an exact cost amount has not been determined.

Council also approved a resolution to purchase new tasers for police officers. Police Chief Jason Shaw said the city’s current tasers are about 15 years old.

“The ones we have are quite outdated,” Shaw said.

The council approved a five-year agreement with Axon to provide tasers and virtual training for officers.