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Hawesville looking for grants to help with future plans

Hawesville Mayor Rob McCormick reports at the Hawesville City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 14th, that City Administrator Jake Powers has been doing a wonderful job at documenting the city’s maintenance costs. Unexpected costs in the city have been tallied at around $25,869.

“We’ve got water and sewer repairs and A11s,” Powers said. “For July-Oct., we’ve had a total of 138 poles. Hopefully, we’ll be able to gather this as it comes in from here on out and start getting a little more detailed and accurate with it.”

“The reason we’re doing this,” McCormick said, “is out on Harrison, I’ve been told we have over 40 splices in that stretch. We’re tracking this now and it should give us some ammunition to possibly go to the state and say, ‘It’s costing us more to maintain this than it would be to run a new line; Help us out.’ We have to have the ammunition to go to them with, and we need it documented. That’s what we’re doing now.”

Municipal Road Aid

“We have $239K on Municipal Road Aid,” McCormick stated. “They’re giving us a quote on Pear Tree Lane, and are telling us if the weather holds, they’ll still be able to do Pear Tree this year which needs to be done very badly. Cypress Lane has already been taken care of. The county helped us out graciously. Our Magistrate Mark Gray and our Judge-Executive Roberts did that for us. That was a plus.

What our plan is, if something hits this building again and our fire department can’t get out onto Main Street like they couldn’t before, I feel like for a safety net for the rural communities and our city, we open this and prepare that to where they can pull the county truck straight out and hit Harrison and leave town. That gives us two egresses. They are very important to have. These proposals are for moving the dirt, hauling in 150 tons of dense grade, demo of a 40 by 45 area, hauling out 160 yards of excess material to make the slope where it doesn’t come into this building like it does now – the estimate is at $21,850. That’s phase 1.

Yager Materials has agreed to asphalt it for us and this price is absolutely unbelievable – $6,620. When I saw it I thought somebody missed a number. I called them and they said that was the right number and that we’re a customer of theirs, and they’re a customer of ours. So they took care of us. You’re talking about blacktopping all the way from about 30 feet behind the fire department, or about 20 feet all the way down Robertson to Harrison and that will allow that truck out the back exit. We’re not worried about the water and gas lines that run through there because it’s deep enough. They’ve already located that. It’s the old sewer clean outs that are on this side of that block wall going down. I feel like this will benefit our citizens and help with the issue.

What we’ll do is go on and start on phase 1 immediately. Yager said they could have phase 1 done within 5 to 10 business days, depending on the weather. Phase 2- Yager says they can lay that asphalt as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees. We’ve got time to get this done if we go on and do it.” After review, the project was approved.

Fire Dept. Report

“There were 40 total runs for the month of October,” Hawesville Fire Chief Shane Richards said, “bringing our annual total to 434. We’re still right on path to set a new record, probably. The majority of them are EMS runs. It was a busy month for October, and typically that is our Fire Prevention Month. We’ve been busy with both North Hancock and Audubon Area Head Start Fire Prevention, plus an Open House in-station on Halloween night. Upwards of 360 people went through the station in one night, even with as cold as it was.

Training wise for the month of October, we had several of our members go to Green River Firefighters Assoc. Fall Fire School, and did some different trainings there. It’s all a hands-on so there was a lot of benefit there. At the start of November, we had the Hancock County Fire School that we do in kind with all 4 departments, plus the Rescue Squad. That was done at the Career Center. It was a good turn out there as well. We’re staying busy. If anyone was out last night (Monday, Nov. 13), we had live fire training at the courthouse.

We were presented with a check from Domtar toward our new brush truck. It is in house. We are starting the construction on it. There will be a press release once we get it completed. Right now, we’re putting parts and pieces together to get our brush truck going again. It definitely helped out with the Domtar donation, along with the donation letters from the citizens of Hawesville that helped toward that as well. Thank you to all those that helped with that.”

Exemption Approved

“Mike Cook had an unusual situation, so I’m bringing it to the council. We get a pool adjustment each year, a one time leak adjustment if it doesn’t run through the sewer. Mike spread new grass, new sod and his sewer bill was about 8 times more than it normally is. As a pool filling, or one time adjustment for this gentleman, since it did not go through the sewer, obviously. I think we go back and gather 6 months of average, and then that’s what he will be billed. You only get one adjustment per year for a pool fill. In a situation like this, if you’ve sowed new grass – we can go back to our bond and change that. I don’t think we can make that adjustment for just watering lawns. I think this is a different situation. He did water his lawn, but it was a fresh new grass.”

“I had to tear the whole yard out,” Cook said, “because of construction work over there. The whole yard slid down and I was out $30K that year. This year, construction went on for 5 months and I was out another $30K. The whole neighborhood there has issues. I’ve had state geologists look at it.” After a lengthy discussion, the exemption was approved.

Possible Grants

“Me and Mayor Gregory, our City Admin., Lewisport’s city manager, Joanna Shake with GRADD, and Matt Curtis (co-owner of Bluegrass Engineering) met last week,” McCormick said. “Matt, myself and Jake have been looking for grants to help us in certain areas. Matt has found a grant that we’re really researching hard now. It is for past audits to be covered. It will help tremendously so we’re working diligently on that.

They are working on a possibility of finding funding on things for the new water system. Mayor Gregory and I are going to have a meeting with our Judge-Executive Roberts and see where the county will buy into this. Matt also brought to our attention that 2 cities were working together to help each other out and when they did that, grants started flooding in for them. I will have Matt here at the next meeting to explain that.

An inner city agreement would be that we will work together in the future towards fixing issues. It shows the state that we’re working together, and the state is very important to please on that case. Nothing has been decided on it and nothing will be decided on it until it comes to us bringing it to the council.”

Future Potential Plan

“We pushed the math, myself and Hawesville councilman Herndon. He’s brought up a lot of very good ideas financially and I want you all to thank him for that,” McCormick said. “Lewisport would like that loop. In doing a 5-year study of what they would pay us, we’ve come up with a number that we feel like presenting to Lewisport but I’m wanting you all to review it before we do and to see about selling that loop.

The reason is, we are at 84 percent on water capacity. Once you reach 90 percent, you’re not hooking anybody up to water. We just picked up Yager Materials as a customer. They could drive us to that themselves. We’ve got developers wanting to build new properties in town. I know there are 3 new homes going up on Donna Lou. I know that developers want to put up a 4-plex and some other things in town. We have to have room to be able to tie them off.

The reason I looked at 5 years, I felt like it would take us 3 to 5 years to build that back up but in saying that, pushing Yager’s numbers that we’re just pulling in, they will make up 62 percent of that water loss at the industrial rate. That’s where we’re at. Nothing will be done until it’s presented to the council, with hard numbers in front of you. I just wanted you to be thinking about it.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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