It was the primary topic of discussion during Monday’s monthly Williamsburg City Council meeting where the council gave Mayor Roddy Harrison the go ahead to look into financing for an approximately $250,000 project.
The project includes replacement of some older fire hydrants, placement of some water valves throughout town, replacement of some water lines and possibly some drainage work.
“It is an all-encompassing project, where we can fix the things we have kind of needed to fix and update and repair,” Harrison told the council. “We really need to get some valves in the city where we can turn the water off without having to let the tanks run out in order to fix some things.”
Harrison said city officials have been trying to find grant money to do some of these projects for about one year, but have been unsuccessful.
Harrison said it would cost the city about $20,000 annually to finance such a project for 20 years, and about $30,000 to finance it for 10 years.
Officials will have to crunch the budget numbers to see what the city can afford, but Harrison said he would prefer a 10-year financing option.
Harrison said that he already has one financing proposal from the Kentucky League of Cities, but is going to look into others to see if he can find a cheaper interest rate.
Councilwoman Patty Faulkner asked if the city would be able to prioritize the work done on the project, such as changing the number of new valves or fire hydrants if officials found something while doing the work that they determined was more important.
The city is pursuing funding options that would allow it to do so, Harrison said.
He said some federal funding would prevent changes to the work once financing was obtained. For instance, if the city got funding to replace five fire hydrants and install five valves, then it wouldn’t be able to install six fire hydrants and four valves under the terms of some federal funding.
Harrison noted that over the weekend there were water pressure issues in the Old Corbin Pike area, and officials eventually found a major leak on Reservoir Road.
The council also briefly discussed drainage issues caused by recent rains.
Councilman Loren Connell said that most of the drainage in the city could accommodate rain 95 percent of the time, but some recent rains have been examples of the other 5 percent.
“I don’t know how you can plan for three inches of rain in 45 minutes,” Harrison added in reference to Thursday afternoon rains.
Connell noted that a tire inside a drain at the corner of Cemetery Road and Rains Street also contributed to drainage issues Thursday.
City officials sought to reassure city residents that they are sensitive to the drainage issues when lots of rain falls in a short period of time, and they take every call seriously.
Harrison added one thing that would help is if local residents would blow their lawn clippings from the street back into their yards so it doesn’t clog up drains.
In other business, Harrison announced that phase three would soon be started on a project with Precision Concrete to remove “toe stumps” from city sidewalks that could cause people to trip.
Precision Concrete uses a grinding method to smooth out the “toe stumps.”
This phase of the work would include sidewalks along both sides of Main Street from the bridge to 11th Street, and sidewalks around the campus of the University of the Cumberlands.
Harrison said that the university is helping with the financing for work on the campus sidewalks.
Precision Concrete hopes to start work Thursday on the university’s campus so the work can be completed there before classes resume.
The city’s portion of the work will cost $8,400.
Harrison said if there were enough money, some sidewalks would also be fixed in the Highland Park area.