I appreciate those who came to the work study last night. And I am thankful that so many chose to speak. Everyone spoke very well and it’s definitely not something that is easy to do.
I would like to post my notes from last night’s work study. The work studies are more often than not 4 hour long meetings every first Thursday of the month, and this one was certainly no exception. The video from the meeting is posted for all to view.
This is a long post as I tried to include as much information as possible. All of this is public information from a public meeting that can be requested at City Hall. No personal opinions regarding city business items are included per the Tennessee Open Meetings Law. I cannot comment about my personal views on any particular item in social media; I can only provide what was reported on and discussed, and I can provide additional resources or follow-up information as needed.
Sewer Plant Repairs – Special Called Meeting
- Tank #1 is down and is in the process of emergency repairs. Our processing capacity is cut significantly when one tank is down (we only have 2 storage tanks; the third is an extra tank for further filtering).
- The state provided a priority list we must complete on problems at our current plant. Even if it were at full capacity, our current plant cannot keep up with the demand on the system, nor can it meet the new state requirements for the
treated water that is fed back into a low-flow stream.
- One of those priorities is to drain and clean our tanks. As we are likely 4 years out from a new sewer plant being operational (per our city engineer), we MUST keep our current plant in optimal working condition so that it last until we shift to the new one.
- We had 3 bids for the repairs and tank cleaning at the sewer plant. We voted on the bid of 188K from W&O Construction. Our assistant supervisor and sewer operator both recommended we clean all 3 tanks now (one at a time) to avoid additional equipment fees if they need to be cleaned in the future.
- The mayor will appear at an upcoming state water funding board hearing to explain the need for these repairs. The state must be notified of any expenses for water/sewer that are not included in the day to day operations (per the state
IDB and Parks
- Industrial Development Board – Working through the process for the USDA grant for the fire wall construction at the Expo Center. The USDA is currently reviewing the contract documents. There will be a pre-construction meeting very soon
and the contractor will be given the go ahead to proceed at that time.
- Land for new WWTP – The deed has been signed by the IDB granting the City a portion of the Expo Property for the new sewer plant. This can now move into the design phase.
- Anyone interested in volunteering to serve on the IDB can contact City Hall, city council members, or the President of the IDB, Andy Leath.
- Parks – The council discussed revisiting the parks improvement list that was created earlier this year. There is a Parks & Recreation committee that would prioritize these items, but there are not enough volunteers to complete the committee. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact any council member or City Hall.
- Currently working on a grant that would provide funding for a swift water rescue boat. Due to recent issues with flooding in the area, this is needed because the county cannot always respond in a timely manner.
- They will also receive a portion of a safety grant that was applied for by the city, and have also been selected for a forestry grant.
- Working through a large number of cases the past few months. Sargent Langston and Officer Flatt are assisting with investigations due to their skill sets and certifications.
- No applications for the 1 full-time police officer position that is currently
- Officer Parker is assisting (thanks to his technical expertise) with improving communications with the new county dispatch.
- Working on another grant application for highway safety.
- Sewer Collection – two pumps were down at two different pumping stations. One is a discharge pump that will need to be repaired/replaced due to damage from an unidentified item in the intake flow. The other is a vacuum pump that has
already been replaced, but another one should be purchased so that we always have a backup (due to the age of the collection system and having to run the pumps at near max capacity). We do have a budgeted line item for pump repairs and
replacements as this is a common problem with the aging system. Recent increases in rain also tax the system due to stormwater runoff in the collection system.
- WWTP – Solar lights on tanks at WWTP are installed. New LED lights are being installed on the property. The center of Tank #1 was cleaned while emergency repairs were being made, but repair company could not clean outside of tank as we did not have anywhere to dispose of the residue. The company who is awarded the WWTP repairs bid will be able to dispose of everything after cleaning the tanks.
- TAX FREEZE SIGN-UPS – Sumner County officials will be in Westmoreland Friday – SEPTEMBER 15TH, 8am – 4pm, at 5300 Austin Peay Highway (where city meetings are held), to help residents sign up for the tax freeze program. Residents must be over the age of 65, be a homeowner, and meet the income requirements. This is different than the tax relief program, in which you have to re-certify yearly. More information can be found at the link above.
- Levelized Billing for City Utilities – A citizen suggested looking into levelized billing for city utilities, similar to the program that Tri-County uses, and I requested that we look further into it. This can be implemented with no additional cost or significant extra time needed as our current local government program can do this. It would be based on a rolling 12-month average. One concern is that potential problems may be harder to spot if citizens are looking at an averaged total, but the usage amount and original cost will be on the bill as well so it is something that could still be tracked.
This would be an optional program that would provide a more consistent monthly bill. This will be voted on at the September 21st meeting…please contact your city council members with questions or comments.
- Bill reminders – would require a third party to manage and the cost of that service would be significant. Mailed or emailed reminders would not be possible with our system, and both would have to go through the 3rd party. However, the due date does not change month to month. It is the 16th for the billed amount and the 23rd at noon is the cut-off time (billed amount + late fee). There are bank draft and online payment options as well as a limited extension program. We do accept vouchers from Mid-Cumberland.
- FAQ City Utilities Document – A suggestion was also made to create a frequently asked questions document for the public city utilities. Our City Recorder is working on this document. It will be made available at city hall and on the city website once it is completed.
- 11 new constructions are in progress in the city.
- Conducted a safety review of parks and repairs have been made.
- The city will need to start planning for new playground equipment at parks, especially Thomas Carter Park (behind the library). A parks grant may be able to assist with costs.
- Animal Control – There have been a few stray animal calls that have been completed and he fortunately was able to find the owners. Any stray animal reports in Westmoreland City Limits can be made at (615) 644-2223 M-F 8am-5pm. If it is a potentially vicious animal, PLEASE contact county dispatch at (615) 644-2222.
- Further Housing Developments – This needs to be closely monitored as we are almost at capacity regarding our sewer system.
- City Hall Damaged Windows Quotes – Requesting quotes for replacing windows at city hall that are damaged and leaking. These will be voted on at the September 21st meeting.
- New Water Supply Options – Council members have met with Portland and Castalian Springs to discuss combined efforts to obtain our own water supply. The other 3 municipalities all purchase their water from other areas. They are the only ones in this area that do not have their own water supply.
A committee is being formed with 2 representatives from Portland, Castalian Springs, Hartsville, and Westmoreland. Hartsville has their own water source but it is limited capacity. Our representatives are Tony Bentle and Fredia Carter. The US Corps of Engineers still will not allow new connections to the Cumberland River, so other supply options/sources are also going to be considered as this has been a reason for delay for a number of years.
A water supply option report was completed by the city engineer and summarizes our water system, costs, number of customers, etc. It provides detailed information regarding other supply options and the costs associated with those. This is available, as all city documents are, for citizens to request at City Hall.
- A job description for the Public Works supervisor has been updated and changes were discussed. This position will soon be advertised.
- The Westmoreland Fall Cleanup Day is scheduled for September 23rd from 8AM-12PM at the Public Works Building on Epperson Springs Road (behind the VFW Hall). Large items such as furniture, mattresses, appliances, etc will be accepted. No paint, hazardous chemicals, oil, or batteries will be accepted. Elderly or disabled may call 615-644-3382 to arrange for pickup. Must be a resident in the city limits of Westmoreland.