City customers may be able to purchase water leak insurance

Aldermen request more information

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During the most recent Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, decisions were made to gather more information on a couple of agenda items before the board was comfortable making any final votes.

After the meeting was called to order, the board began discussing the possibility of authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Water Leak Relief LLC, a company out of Crossville, to offer customers insurance that would protect them if they were to have an unexpected water leak.

The company’s program would offer insurance, with the premium being added to Sparta’s utility customers’ monthly utility bills but would provide an option that would allow a customer to opt out of purchasing the insurance if they did not want to participate. The billing, which comes with a $1,500 limit, would consist of the following premiums:

  • Residential (all): $2.03 per month
  • Commercial (single occupancy): $3.96 per month
  • Commercial (multiple occupancy): $7.33 per month

However, the board felt that seeking more information was still in the best interest of the city’s customers and that they would like more information. Vice Mayor Jim Floyd made a motion to table any further discussion until more information could be obtained, and alderman Jerry Lowery seconded the motion.

 “The apparent concern on the water leak insurance was whether to implement it as an opt-in or opt-out program,” Brad Hennessee, city administrator, said. “The proposed agreement was intended to be opt-out, and some of the board members felt that the opt-out approach might be imposing the program on people who did not want it. Jeff Dyer with Water Leak Relief has been scheduled to come to the April 1st meeting to address board member questions.”

In other business, After hearing from residents Amanda Dunsmore and Linda Fox, who spoke about issues surrounding the upcoming season of Sparta’s Green Market, which hosts a local craft and food vendor market at Metcalf Park on the third Friday of each month May through October, the board again decided that they needed more information before making any decisions.

The concerns that came from Dunsmore and Fox surrounded the city’s policy for licensing for food vendors and the expense that imposes, stating the expense prohibits vendors from setting up at the event for a single evening, as the market itself is only open for approximately three hours once a month.

“Organizers have asked the city to review its fee structure regarding Mobile Food Vending, along with clarifying other issues in the food truck ordinance,” Hennessee said. “The board directed me to do that, and I should have recommendations ready for them at the April 1 meeting.”

Also, the board passed several motions at the March 18 meeting. Those included approving the low bid for the automatic screen clean system for the raw water intake of $48,665 from L & T Services, of Livingston, and approving the low bid for the replacement of the starters and electrical equipment at the dam by Hart Electrical, of Sparta, for $17,200.

In addition, the board unanimously approved the promotion of Mike Davis to the position of sewer superintendent. The position became vacant due to the retirement of D.C. Bussell. The board also made the decision to eliminate Davis’s existing position of water collection system operator, eliminating the oversight responsibilities of the sanitation division and reconstructing them to fall to the street and sanitation superintendent.

Following that decision, the board voted to approve the internal promotion of Gideon McCurry to the position of street and sanitation superintendent. The reconstruction of the sewer superintendent position now places the oversight of the sanitation department under the street and sanitation superintendent, while also adjusting the position to a pay grade 9.

Public Works director Dillard Quick informed the board the year’s paving list is being finalized and paving would begin under the contract the city holds with Rogers Group. The contract is set to expire, on June 30, and the city administrator stated they hope to have new bid pricing in place for paving that will be scheduled after July 1.

Fire Chief Kirk Young brought the board a quote to evaluate the severe weather siren system. The quote, which comes from Mobile Communications America out of McMinnville and is in the amount of $4,836, was approved unanimously by the board.

“Any repairs needed after the evaluation will be made at that time, and we hope to enter into a preventive maintenance services agreement after that,” Hennessee added to the discussion.

During the department reports, Hennessee also updated the board on the status of the Gateway Monument project.

“The maintenance agreement with TDOT [Tennessee Department of Transportation] has been executed and is the final hurdle to be cleared with them,” he said, explaining that the city is now in the process of putting the bids specs together and once those are completed request for bids will be sent out, returned, and evaluated. “Once a contractor is awarded the bid, there will be a short period of time to acquire material and construction will start. Construction should be complete this summer.”

 Other items discussed were the Motlow Golf Tournament, which is scheduled for May 15, and conducting a walk-through of the downtown walking trail system to develop distance signage.

The next Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting will be 5 p.m., April 1, 2021, at city hall.

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