NEWS

Aledo's new water tower to partially go on line

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Aledo Director of Public Works Steve Moller told the Aledo City Council Monday, July 20, that he hoped by Wednesday of this week to have the telemetry up and the new water tower in the Industrial Park partially filled.

He said that after sanitizing the tower it would be filled to 118 feet, until the telemetry system is on line. He is looking to make an "equal balance between all three towers."

He also mentioned he has been inquiring about the demolition of the water tower next to the VFW Hall. He talked to a demolition firm from Michigan that is interested in removing it for scrap. He said the city could act as the general contractor to save money and estimated the cost of removal at from $100,000 to $200,000.

"Our guys could remove the foundation two feet below the ground," he said. He said that water tower had some serious problems. "There's real structural failure. We're on borrowed time with it." He suggested that previous proposals to try and save it were noted, but it would be a liability to the city. He said that perhaps the city could take some nice photographs of the tower and put up a memorial plaque in its place.

Alderman Barry Cooper, Ward 3 alderman, asked whether the project could be bid out.

Moller said another firm offered to drop it in the parking lot.

One thing the city wants to preserve from that tower is the horse at the top. Moller said the CBI insignia from the tower has already been saved.

Alderman Rich Maynard asked about what the cost would be to drop a power line.

Moller said the city has already budgeted $100,000 for the tower. "Most of the money budgeted is to rehab the south tower and get it down safely."

Moller also addressed a concern brought to the council's attention during the committee of whole by Bill Coutant about the ongoing drainage problem on the NW side of Aledo. Coutant has addressed the city a number of times about overflowing storm drainage ditches going into the sewer system.

Moller said he had already scoped the situation on that side of the city with a camera. He acknowledged that a number of citizens have tied their sump pumps to the storm sewers which increases the problem. He had several suggestions to try to help the situation such as constructing a retention area and digging up some of the ditches. "It's not feasible to dig up the eight-inch main," he said.

In other utility news the council agreed to allow the city administrator to sign an LP gas contract. Moller said the city used right around 3,900 gallons last year. "I think we went through just a little over 500 gallons of liquid propane for the generator," he added.

After much discussion about the fluctuating price of the commodity, "It's more usual to contract for two-thirds and risk the rest," said Robert Rillie, Ward 1 alderman.

Bill Stropes of Gold Star FS told the council, "Fifteen years I've been around the product it's gone down once."

The council also learned that any pre-purchased LP not used is reimbursed.

Moller had some good news for the council about the price of salt. "Last year we paid $111 a ton. This year it's only $66 a ton."

The council discussed a donation request for ALS that was solicited at the last meeting. City Attorney Mark Walton said the council could do a budget amendment or pull any amount from a contingency fund that has extra money.

Alderman Randy Mattson, Ward 4 alderman, said he had been thinking a lot about the request over the past two weeks and had even heard from some constituents on the matter. "Using taxpayer money was not appropriate," he said. He added that it would open the door in the future with others asking for money.

Alderman Maynard said, "They are welcome to solicit the individual council members."

"There's no statutory authority for donations," Walton said.

"We'll drop that one for now," Mayor Jack Doherty said.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a half-block street closing for Trinity Presbyterian Church's Vacation Bible School from 9 to 11:30 a.m. July 27-31 on SW 4th Street.

• Learned sales tax was down a small amount from a year ago.

• Discussed replacing the grill in Central Park, with an estimated cost of around $3,500 to $3,800. The city did retain the grates from the old grill, which might be able to be reused. Some of the aldermen were in favor of using volunteer labor for the project, but no final decision was made.