By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
The Eupora Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 last week to install three speed bumps on Waterworks Road.
Ward 3’s Hugh Gibson, who placed the matter on May 5 agenda, referred to a petition requesting that the city install “the appropriate speed control device(s) on Waterworks Road at (three) locations to assist in controlling speed.”
The petition requested speed bumps at 431, 515 and 585 Waterworks Road. It was signed by 20 residents of the street who indicated they were for installation.
“I certainly think there needs to be one or two (speed bumps) there,” Gibson said.
Mr. and Mrs. William Miller of 515 Waterworks were present to voice their support of the petition, citing speeding drivers. They said children play and ride bikes on the street, and that five accidents have occurred in the street’s curve within the last year or so. The speed limit on the street is 25.
Gibson subsequently made a motion, seconded by Junior Shaw (Ward 1), to have the Street Department install three speed bumps on Waterworks: one north of the curve, one east of the curve and one further east at the sewage pumping station. The motion passed with a dissenting vote from Jerry Gary (at large), who said he felt the city should put up a three-way stop before considering speed bumps.
“I hope this will save some lives,” William Miller said afterwards.
In related action, the board authorized the mayor to sign an interlocal agreement with the county to resurface part of Waterworks Road from Walnut Avenue south. The city, which will provide the material, has $12,500 designated for street paving. The board voted last month to use the money for Waterworks, with Gibson donating $500 as well.
Gibson said that after the repaving is completed, the board should consider whether another speed bump should be installed further north. He also said that if the speed bumps don’t slow traffic down, the city should consider putting up three-way stop signs at intersections.
In a matter tabled from April, the board again discussed neighborhood blight. Available board members were to inspect houses on Adams Avenue on April 12 that may be out of compliance.
On May 5, the board authorized the mayor and city clerk to proceed with sending certified letters to property owners whose names and 911 addresses are submitted by any aldermen notifying them that they are in violation of the city’s blight ordinance Properties mentioned as being in possible violation include some on South Dunn, Adams Avenue, Pat Avenue, Noel Street, Naron Street and South Allen.
The letters will request that the homeowners bring their properties up to code or tear their houses down within a certain time. If no response is received or no improvements made, the property owners will be sent notice of a public hearing at which they can appear. If the city has to tear down a condemned house, the cost will be assessed to the property owner as a tax lien.
Lamar Dumas, who addressed the board last month about community job recruitment, returned because the item had been tabled. After some discussion, aldermen voted to allow Dumas to represent the city as a volunteer economic development contact for a three-month period effective immediately. The board asked him to give a monthly report.
Burchfield said his only concern was that Dumas should not be put in a position to make promises or contracts on behalf of the city, and that he will still have to come to the mayor and board for any needed action regarding business prospects.
Additionally, the board approved a tax exemption request from Plymouth Tube Co. It also voted to turn off a street light on Adams Avenue Extended and have Natchez Trace EPA install that light on a pole on Lawrence Drive.
Aldermen handled and discussed various matters regarding the Water Department. The board accepted a high bid (one of three received) of $2,500 from Bradley Pace for the sale of old water meters. In the event Pace declines his offer, the city will accept the next-highest bid. The board declared the old meters surplus and voted to advertise to take bids for them last month.
No formal action was taken after the mayor and board discussed a tabled recommendation from Burchfield to suspend the Water Department trainee program that the city started two years ago. However, the board did direct him to “clean up” the policy regarding Water Department certification training and have it on the next agenda. Burchfield said the program is outdated and that salary scales have since changed.
After discussing personnel manual policy revision, specifically regarding the Water Department’s standby pay rate, aldermen agreed that the department should finish the on-call employee rotation and to address the matter again by June 30.
During the March meeting, some aldermen said the Water Department should have an additional iPhone for remote well monitoring (SCADA system) so more than one person could be on weekend call rotation. Water Superintendent Benny Neal reported last month that an additional iPhone with SCADA system capability had been purchased for the on-call weekend person.
During department head reports, Neal said Greg Roberts of New Albany had repaired all but one or two inoperative fire hydrants in the city. The board voted in March to have Roberts check the inoperative fire hydrants, give the city an estimate and develop a plan to repair the remaining inoperative fire hydrants.
In April, the board approved a motion for Water Department employee Kenneth Cooper to see if he could repair the inoperative fire hydrants before Roberts did any work.
When asked why he directed Roberts to begin making the repairs without first giving an estimate, Neal said Roberts charges for his time in preparing an estimate. He also said because Roberts was already in the area, “It was a good opportunity.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Alderman Shaw stood up and asked the mayor if he (Burchfield) did not feel he owed him an apology for an outburst at the March 3 board meeting.
At that meeting, Shaw had complained that the water at his house was discolored, left rust stains and smelled bad. Afterwards, Burchfield beat the table with his fist and raised his voice when replying that the city could not fix water problems it doesn’t know about because they haven’t been reported.
Burchfield did apologize to Shaw last week but said his response was not directed only at him. Rather, he said it was out of frustration over repeated board discussions about water problems, and that the city had received only one verified water complaint in the previous month, which was from the Bellefontaine area. After Burchfield apologized, Shaw said his water is still bad.