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Water System Upgrades Top Carmi Council Meeting

In recent weeks, about a dozen residents in the Hillsdale area have taken to social media to express concerns over problems they’ve experienced in their homes during the water line improvement project.  At Tuesday’s Carmi City Council meeting, Mayor Jeff Pollard asked engineer Jim Brown of Brown and Roberts to come and update council on the endeavor and address some of those problems encountered.  A bit of background first.

“Yesterday, we did the last reconnection for services in the Hillsdale area.  This is a project we started back in 2020.  The reason we did the project was the existing water line is back behind homes, in an 8 foot wide easement along with sanitary sewer and in some instances, electrical and gas so it’s all confined in a very tough area to work.”

The lines were undersized Brown says, typically bad material and were too close to sanitary sewer lines.  Funds were secured through a $650,000 DCEO grant and a $647,000 EPA grant, along with a $647,000 EPA loan at .94% over 30 years.  That made for a $1.9 million dollar project with 67% of it paid for through grant money.  About 3,300 linear feet of new PVC pipe were laid and new meters were installed for 93 homes.  To the issues…

“We had to my knowledge about 10 issues.  Primarily, they were associated with not having an expansion tank on the hot water heaters.  We had some hot water heater issues and some broken lines.  I will say that some of the lines we had to connect onto that were in bad condition.  Overall though, the project has gone very well.”

If you had issues, city officials suggest you reach out to your homeowners insurance.  Brown says it is in state plumbing code that expansion tanks are supposed to be located on the outlet side of the check valve in the water heater’s cold water supply.  Some council members were oblivious to the issues.  Brown explains what in essence happened in some of the homes.

Brown:  “If the hot water’s not being used all the time, it can heat up and then expand and it can on substandard water lines, crack them and it can crack a tank.”

Bradshaw:  “And that happened?”

Brown:  “It has happened.”

Winkleman:  “And who’s liable for that?”

Brown:  “Well, it’s on the customer’s side.”

Winkleman:  “So the customer is liable for their own?”

Brown:  “I think that’s the position of the city.”

 

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, Keith Botsch presented the city’s annual property tax levy and assessment as well as levies for the payment of bonds.  The general corporate to be levied is $120,000.  Police pension will be $492,200.  Library is $82,700.  Insurance is $16,006.  Those make up a total levy of $710,906.  The city is levying the maximum amount possible without triggering a truth in taxation hearing.

Council reappointed Brent Hammell to the Carmi Board of Fire and Police Commission Tuesday night.  Hammell’s term will run from January 1st, 2024 through December 31st, 2026.

The village of Bluford was the only bid for the 2005 Domatex Flo Trend Sludge Mate Trailer.  A minimum bid of $20,000 was necessary.  Officials from the Jefferson County hamlet $20,112.

Final discussion surrounded financing the new bucket truck instead of paying for it out of the bond fund as was previously approved.  Mayor Pollard explains the reasoning.

“Right now, we are a little low in the bond fund.  When we got our IMEA bill, it jumped from $297,840 in June to $401,835 in July.  So it was $103,000+ increase.  We’ve had to use some of that money to keep that going.  Then the vac trailer came in and it was $84,470 and we paid for it but there are six departments that we broke it up into.  They have to pay $14,078 back into that account in the next 6 months.  Right now, it’s got about $19,000 in it, but when everything’s paid back into it, there will be about $206,000 back in it again.”

That prompted Lacey Bradshaw to pose a question.

Bradshaw:  “When I was working [at the light and water office], we had an electric reserve account that we were putting $100,000+ a month in.  Are we still doing that?

Pollard:  “It has about $50,000 in it right now.”

Bradshaw:  “Why?”

Pollard:  “Because there was about 4 months that it didn’t have any money that went back into it.”

Bradshaw:  “Why?”

Pollard:  “Because it didn’t get figured in right from who was sending it to us.”

Bradshaw:  “Isn’t that what that was for…an emergency type situation.  That’s what that was set up for, right?”

Pollard:  “mmmhmm”

And with that, Councilwoman Sheila Headlee made a motion to finance through First Mid over 7 years at 6.87%.  Alderman Winkleman would second and the board would unanimously approve the motion.  Alderman Jeremy Courson was out sick and Doug Hays was away at a meeting.

The meeting adjourned without an executive session just before 6pm.

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4 comments
  1. Outlaw
    Outlaw
    December 6, 2023 at 7:15 am

    Maybe the city could get an Amazon account and put some stuff on it while they build the light account back up. Just be careful who you give the card to.

    Reply
  2. William Abby
    William Abby
    December 7, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    I’m a little p***ed off about the trench and dirt piled up in my yard.
    Maybe I won’t pay property tax until you fix what you tore up.
    I’ve lived in this house less than 2 years and have had the city dig and destroy my yard 4 times and my driveway 2 times that still have not been corrected. Concrete busted up and a big hole with gravel for almost a year has not been corrected or even said when it might get fixed.
    I’m all for improvements but co m e repair what you destroyed.
    My wife had award winning Rose Bushes that were dug up tossed awY without a common courtesy of askin if we would like to dug up and move. Just destroyed.
    Our entire street looks like a row of mud and dirt.
    Redickulous!!!

    Reply
    • Big John
      Big John
      December 8, 2023 at 1:42 pm

      what award did your rose bush win

      Reply
  3. Little John
    Little John
    December 8, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    The Carmi White County April Ave rose bush contest. 🌹

    Reply

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