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Friday, Apr. 25, 2014

Extra-large water bill has jail staff monitoring meter

Friday, April 30, 2004

(Photo)
Mississippi County Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg and Commissioner Homer Oliver review a very high water bill.
CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners believe a faulty meter is responsible for an extraordinarily large water bill.

Commissioners discussed the Mississippi County Detention Center's $5,000 water bill from the city during their regular meeting Thursday.

County Clerk Junior DeLay said a problem was first noticed when someone in billing at the water company noticed the jail's water usage was "a little higher than it normally was."

DeLay said someone was dispatched to read the meter again one week later and reported usage of "619,000 gallons in a seven-day period." DeLay said that is more water than the nearby state prison uses.

Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner, said it works out to nearly 2.5 million gallons in a month. The jail's normal average usage is 197,000 gallons per month.

Commissioner Martin Lucas recalled that during a recent inspection of the manhole outside the jail, there wasn't even any water exiting the jail.

"If there was that much water going in, there would be a stream coming out of that manhole," Lucas said. He said the meter must be defective.

Blumenberg said he, too, recalled "just a trickle coming through there."

Jail maintenance staff will closely monitor the meter, Blumenberg said. "He's just going to log it every day."

In other Mississippi County news:

* Commissioners approved the application for Homeland Security grant funding with $2,500 requested by the sheriff's department and $11,500 requested by the health department.

Cole Byassee, environmental public health specialist for the county health department, said the health department's funds would be used for planning and equipment, and the sheriff's funds would go toward "masks for meth lab raids."

* The annual agreement with the Missouri Department of Corrections for inmate labor from the Southeast Correctional Center was approved by commissioners.

"We have to do it every year," said Blumenberg about the renewal.

Commissioners agreed the arrangement has worked well for the county.

Blumenberg said there really aren't that many inmates eligible for the program available.

"I think we have four right now," he said, "and East Prairie has three or four."

* Blumenberg said it is once again time to park some of the county road and bridge department's motor graders.

With diesel prices so high and many of the roads having low traffic, "we don't need it," Blumenberg said. "It just comes to the point with this fuel, we've got to cut back."

* Commissioners agreed to allow the county to assist the town of Anniston with a Community Development Block Grant application by providing the in-kind local match wit2h manpower and equipment.

"They're trying to put in a storm sewer-type deal," said Blumenberg.