A short public meeting was held June 25 at 4 p.m. in council chambers at Brookport City Hall to discuss the pending water project.
Jim Brown was present to answer any questions about the proposed project, assuming the grant/loan is approved by U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA) Regional Development.
Brown stated there are three main components to the project: bypass all the cast iron mains, paint the water tower inside and out and replace the connection to Fort Massac Water District with a controlled valve.
"The water quality from the well is very good, but what comes out of the taps can be poor," commented Brown.
The old cast iron pipes are thought to be the major problem. In the plans, the cast iron will be capped off and bypassed with PVC pipe.
Brown also stated it was time for routine maintenance on the water tower, which included the tower be painted inside and outside. Rust areas are becoming apparent.
In an emergency, county water can be accessed but when that happens, the county lines lose pressure and it blows lines so the valve system needs replacement to avoid those problems.
Kathy Tucker, Ward 1 alderman, wanted residents to be aware the million dollar loan repayment will require water bills to be raised again, which she does not favor. She acknowledges it will be hard on people with fixed incomes and that affects a great many residents.
On the other hand, Scott Martin, Ward 3 alderman, pointed out the problem needs to be fixed. "It should have been fixed a long time ago and the problem has only gotten worse. New debt will have to be taken on if Brookport is to grow," explained Martin.
Several people in the room did ask questions, some inquiring if any financial help is available for those in need. Brookport Mayor Tami Wessel will look into possible options that could address the situation.
Another resident asked if roads would be torn up as pipes are laid. Brown answered the money is in the budget to fix road damage.
Donnie Henson, city worker, commented that bypassing cast iron mains may prove to need less hydrant flushing and therefore save on water.
Council OKs grant process
Immediately following the public hearing, the Brookport City Council had a special called meeting.
The four council members present and Wessel all agreed to approve the resolution to execute the agreement with Brown & Roberts Inc. to proceed with the water project designs and USDA Rural Development to apply for the million dollar loan and the $1.8 million grant.
A unanimous approval was also given to apply for a Homeland Security grant involving the water tower building and other security issues, but no public discussion was held on the specifics.
An amendment to the mobile home ordinance was approved as well. The changes involve allowing vinyl or metal skirting to be used. Stone or masonry was required before.
The other change was to forgo the age limit on mobile homes. Since Brookport does not have zoning laws, the age of the home is not relevant but the condition of the home must meet some standards.
A motion to approve fire department dues for membership to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was tabled until Fire Chief Bill Copley was present to explain the benefits or program.