City water rates increasing March 1

Posted By | January 21, 2019 8:11 am

By Ron Moses

Many Sparta residents should see a change in their water rates very soon following the approval of an ordinance that will amend the municipal code regarding the water rate for utility districts.

On Jan. 17, the Sparta Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the amendment, which will go into effect March 1 of 2019, for the sale of water based upon meters read and bills rendered on and after April 1, 2019, for water usage. The ordinance was passed, but not unanimously. Alderman Jerry Lowery was the dissenting vote.

Also on the agenda was a resolution to authorize the City of Sparta to participate in the Tennessee Valley Transformer Buying Group. According to City Administrator Chris Dorsey, the group is specifically focused on the purchase of transformers.

“The system they were using in order to buy transformers has basically disbanded,” said Dorsey. “The group of local utility companies have partnered together with Volunteer Energy to form this purchasing cooperative where they already have bids solicited for transformers for us to go out and buy these transformers that have already been pre-bid according to guidelines. That will save us some money and time.”

The resolution was approved unanimously following a motion by Lowery and a second by Vice Mayor Jim Floyd.

The board also voted unanimously on a resolution to apply to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for Appalachian Regional Commission grant Funds. The grant money is to be used to replace the lift station at the Wilson Sporting Goods’ building. According to documents provided, White County is considered an at-risk county by the ARC and is approved for a grant not exceeding 70 percent of the total project cost. Sparta would then be on the hook for the remaining 30 percent as well as any funds needed to complete the project.

The total project cost will be $473,000. White County will be responsible for $141,900 while ARC funds will total $331,100. Construction cost will eat up most of the funds, while administrative and legal fees, land structures, right of way, appraisals, and architectural and engineering fees will also play a part. There will also be $50,000 allocated to project inspection fees.

“With all the growth in the north end … I think it is in our best interest to aggressively seek all the help we can,” said Mayor Jeff Young

Following unanimous approval, the City of Sparta will also be bidding $65,000 dollars on a 2007 Autocar commercial front load garbage truck. Young said he recommended the board approve the bid before Alderman Hoyt Jones made a motion to proceed, which was quickly seconded by Alderman Judy Payne. The board also approved the purchase of a police vehicle in the amount of $27,530 to be paid for with monies accumulated in the drug fund.

The board also addressed public concerns over the cleanliness and safety of South Carter Street Park. Public Works Director Dillard Quick said the public works department makes every effort to assure the park is clean and safe.

“In the summer months, I have an on-call guy that comes in on Saturday and Sunday,” said Quick. “He addresses each garbage can. There are five garbage cans in that pavilion. The thing is, if there are four or five parties, yes, they are going to get full. But, the next morning at seven o’clock it is emptied.”

Quick said he does not have an on-call person that comes in during the winter months because there are not as many people using the park, but, Monday through Friday, the garbage cans and bathrooms are checked every day.

In other business, Joyce Floyd, Annette King, and Leon Elligan were named to the Sparta Housing Authority Board and all department heads were heard. The board also approved the hire of a water plant operator and a volunteer firefighter.

Also, Sparta’s newest peacekeeper, Officer Matt Farmer, took his oath.

All board members were present.

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