By Larry Stanford
The Yatesville City Council is trying to make sure the next time there is a major weather event like the ice storm in February, that residents are not without water. During the ice storm, power was knocked out in Yatesville for several days. At the same time, a leak in the city’s water system drained the water tower, and with the power out, the city could not replenish the tower from its well. Residents were without water and power for at least a day, and the Upson County Emergency Management Agency trucked in a pallet load of bottled water for citizens to use.
The problems were the topics of discussion at both the March and April city council meetings. A group of concerned citizens came before the council at the March meeting, wanting to know what the city was going to do to be sure such an occurrence did not happen again.
Mayor Cecil Moncrief said the city could look into purchasing an emergency generator, but that it could cost more than $12,000. He added that in addition to the generator, the city would have purchase a switching mechanism that would switch power from the regular electric system to the generator. He estimated the cost of such a mechanism at around $1,400.
Moncrief did note that city personnel were out looking for the water leak before the freeze, but didn’t find it in time. When they did find the leak, it was at the end of the city’s water lines, at a home whose owner was out of town for an extended length of time and knew nothing about the leak.
At the April meeting, Mayor Moncrief advised the council that Jay Matthews of the Georgia Rural Water Authority had called him with a solution to the generator.
“He said that we need a 15kW generator, which we had pretty much decided we needed,” Moncrief said. “But, he said if we want, they have several of them, and if we want to use one, all we have to do is call him, and they’ll bring it to us, hook it up, and it won’t cost us anything to use it for four or five days. So be thinking about that between now and next month when he comes back to answer any questions you may have. We got prices on those things, and they’re not cheap.”
The council also discussed the need for the switching mechanism, with Council member Wanda Dozier suggesting they go ahead and look into getting one installed.
“Can we go ahead and try to get that hook-up done, in case we have more bad weather?” she asked. “At least we can be checking into it.”
The mayor noted that he had talked to one person who gave him a price of $1,140 to get the wiring and put everything in place. He said the city could get a couple of more bids before the next council meeting and make a final decision then.
Dozier made a motion to go ahead and get bids on the switching mechanism and vote on it at the May meeting. Council member Ronnie Riggins seconded the motion and it was approved 3-0. Council member Phyl Gatlin was absent.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.