Phase put in 42 miles of water lines, installed 212 water meters
CHARLESTON -- A public hearing closing out the second phase of Mississippi County's rural water district was held during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.
"The project is now completed," said Joe E. Lane, director of community planning for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Dexter.
The total cost for Phase 2 of the Mississippi County Public Water Supply District No. 1 was $1,160,100. Funding included a $578,000 Rural Development loan; a $154,000 Rural Development grant; a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant; and $27,100 in matching cash funds from the water district and $1,000 worth of in-kind contributions.
This phase put in 42 miles of main water lines and installed 212 water meters.
The first and second phases together now provide about 900 customers with water, according to Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
Most of the 700 potential users in the county's rural areas have water mains running past their home or business, Lane said, but declined to hook up during the first two phases.
The cost to set a meter now for these users is $550, according to Kyle Hutcheson, manager of the water district.
This phase's completion comes about 10 years after officials first started to talk about a rural water district for the county in 1997.
Lane said if there was enough interest, it is possible a third phase could be initiated. "If we could get 100 names on the list, that would be the minimum," Hutcheson said.
In other business Thursday:
* County commissioners Martin Lucas and Homer Oliver rode boats down Ditch 23 Monday from Stringtown at County Road 322 to Samus at County Road 321 to get a first-hand look at ditch obstructions.
The ditch is keeping over three feet of water at Stringtown, according to Lucas.
Roughly a half mile south of there, officials found two washed-out pipes about 600 feet apart causing some of the water flow problems, he said.
On the south side of County Road 325, known as Ironbanks Road, "we had to get out and drag the boats," Lucas said.
A bit farther south of that, "we barely got a john boat through," he said. "It had sloughed in and closed the channel down. It was bad; it was terrible."
Commissioners said the contractor hired to excavate obstructions, J&W Construction, has already started clearing the right-of-way.
"Then they're going to bring a dragline in and start digging," Lucas said.
"The contractor will start probably next week," Oliver said.
Commissioners still have concerns about what to do with the dirt pulled out of the ditch as wetland areas are alongside both sides of the ditch near the slough.
If the spoil is piled on the ditch's right-of-way, eventually "it will fall right back in," Lucas said.
Excavation on the ditch will continue until the ditch funds, which total between $13,000 and $15,000, run out.
"That's all we can do," Oliver said.
When the fund receives more money in the spring, "maybe we can do some more," Oliver said. "When we can, we'll remove the lily pads."
* Commissioners approved the purchase of 16 handheld radio/pagers for Bertrand's fire department at a total cost of $4,000 and 14 handhelds and one vehicle unit at a total cost of $3,940 for Anniston's fire department.
Funding will come from the county's 911 fund.
Commissioners explained the purchases were approved to enable the departments to have direct dispatching and hopefully keep their ISO ratings up.
* Blacktopping is almost finished on Russell Road, according to Blumenberg.
"Then we'll have to figure out where we're going after that," he said.