Lepanto to hold town meeting to discuss funding water line replacement

Saturday, March 23, 2013
Pictured are sections of Lepanto's corroded water lines. Mayor Jernigan said the city's ground water is good, but it's becoming cloudy once it hits the pipes. He also mentioned the street crew spends most of their time patching the water lines. (DT Photo/Corey Clairday)

Some of Lepanto's main water lines are around 80 years old. They are corroded and in need of replacement. City Engineer Jerome Alford estimated it would take $1 million to replace the city's 13,000 feet of galvanized pipe. The city applied for a grant and loan to cover the cost last year but was turned down.

At this month's city council meeting, Mayor Steve Jernigan said he and Alford went to Little Rock recently to talk to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission about reapplying for a grant. "They said the grant money is dried up," Jernigan said. "All they can offer is a $1 million loan."

The council looked at increasing water rates to pay for the loan, but several council members were against the increase. Alderman Pete Cox said he would rather implement a half cent sales tax instead of a water rate increase. In the end, the council decided a town meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 16 prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting. The council wants input from the community on how people want to pay for the loan. The meeting will be in the courtroom in the municipal building.

In other business, the council:

*heard from Mayor Jernigan regarding the recycling grant. He said the city received $39,978 and has used the money to rebuild the engine on the leaf machine, purchase a bobcat and a trailer to haul the bobcat.

*agreed to rent the Girl Scout House to Daniel Nooner for $200 a month. Nooner said his parents would move into town and use the house. Nooner will put in a shower at his expense. Other repairs will go toward his rent. If the city decides it wants to use the building, it will give him 60 days notice. The Girl Scouts currently meet at the school and have not used the house in years.

*Approved an expenditure of $4,000 from ACT 833 money to repair the radio tower.

*Approved changing the certified officer pay rate from $10 to $11 an hour.

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