Thomaston electric power residential onsumers may soon begin seeing a reduction in their city power bills as the winter electric rates have kicked in.
At the Thomaston City Council meeting on November 10, City Clerk Clint Chastain advised the council and mayor that as of October 1, 2015, in accordance with the city’s electric ordinance, the winter residential electric rates have been installed in the utility billing system and will be effective through May 20-16.
Mayor Hays Arnold stated that the winter rates represent a decrease of 15.2 percent for 1000 kw users from the summer rates. For 2000 kw users, the decrease will be 20.2 percent, and for 3000 kw users, the decrease is 32 percent. He added that the decrease should be good news for a lot of citizens.
Chastain also noted that summer maximum usage of 20,000 gallons per month for billing sewer charges ended on September 30, 2015.
In other business, the council approved the city manager spending up to $40,000 to have engineering, survey and design work done toward the installation of another trunk line along Town Branch for sewer purposes. City Manager Patrick Comiskey noted that this is a long range project, but that this is the first step.
City Attorney Joel Bentley added that they have found in past Town Branch projects that this is the best way to do it.
“One of the things that we’ve found on this Town Branch project is the difficulty that most of the easements that lie along this line are so old that they’re either prescriptive easements or they’re so poorly described that you can’t follow where they are,” Bentley said. “The benefit of doing it the way Mr. Comiskey is proposing is that it will be platted out, actual easements will be secured, and for posterity purposes, the easements have provisions in for future repairs and replacements as a part of the easement purchase price. For that reason, as the attorney, I would recommend that you undertake this project in the manner in which it is laid out.”
Comiskey said that as the project moves along, he will be recommending the city purchase portions of the property.
“Just for clarification, because this is a trunk line that will be running along the creek, I’ll be recommending that the council purchase those sections not in traditional easements,” he said, “because of the long term expectations we’ll have with storm water down the road, and maintaining creek banks and things that will probably be the municipality’s responsibility in the long haul.”
Mayor Pro Tem Doug Head made a motion to approve the city manager spending up to $40,000 on the engineering, survey and design work. Council member Gary Atwater seconded the motion and it was approved, 4-0.
The council also approved spending up to $30,000 toward a grant application with the USDA for major sewer line replacement.
“We’re seeking approval of a USDA pre-approval planning grant application authorizing the manager and mayor implement an application grant with USDA requiring preliminary engineering,” Comiskey told the council. “This grant would be up to $30,000, depending on what the authority would grant us. It would be an exploratory grant toward doing some major sewer lines replacement work and hopefully getting USDA to help us with that.”
Mayor Arnold stated that he has read the pre-application and the certification for USDA grants and that everything is in order.
Council member Patsy Perdue made a motion to approve the funds for the grant application. Atwater seconded the motion and it was approved, 4-0.
Finally, the city council approved the appointment of Ryan Kellett to the Thomaston-Upson Transportation Committee. Kellett is an employee with the Georgia Department of Transportation and recently made a presentation to the council concerning the dangers of the city’s speed bumps. Mayor Arnold said Kellett has agreed to fill the position on the committee, and noted that the city has one more position on the committee that still needs to be filled.
Perdue made a motion to approve the appointment of Kellett. Atwater seconded the motion and it was approved, 4-0.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.