Lookout Mountain, Ga., officials are proposing a $10 per month charge for each homeowner for eight years to pay for sewer upgrades.
The town's sewer system, that was installed 15 years ago, works with the help of grinder pumps at each of the 605 houses in the town. The life expectancy of this equipment is 20 years and the need for replacements has already begun. City Manager Brad Haven estimated that two per month have been replaced and that number is going to escalate.
It is inevitable that they will all need to be replaced in the next 10-12 years. The sewer board, headed by Jimmy Campbell is working on a plan to pay for the replacements.
The city charter requires the town to be responsible for these pumps, but taxpayers will be the ones paying regardless, Mr. Campbell said. At a special called meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Ga. City Council Thursday night,the plan for the monthly charges was presented.
It would generate a maintenance reserve of $580,000, which is close to 70 percent of the cost for the new improved pumps.
The council voted to give a 30-day period for public meetings to discuss this plan and any alternatives that residents may offer. Property owners will be notified of the meetings by email and letters. They will be held at varying times of day in order to be available to everyone.
The town has now received SPLOST money from Walker County and has put the $511,000 into a separate account. Money from this account has been allotted for the current year totaling $110,000 for five projects. The sewer line from Georgia will be completed to join the one in Tennessee, a small tractor will be purchased for the public works department, the sidewalk will be finished along Lula Lake Road to join the walkway in Tennessee and repairs will be made to fix a hole on Fort Trace. Seven “turn-out suits” will also be purchased this year for the volunteer fire department with SPLOST funds.
Construction to complete the pathway will be started next week, said the city manager. Estimates are that it will be completed in 30-35 days. The style will match what has already been built on the Georgia side, with a semi-curvy pathway utilizing rock work along the way.
Another project that is being undertaken is the replacement of street signs throughout the town. Bids have been received for two different types - carved, painted wood signs mounted on wood poles and printed metal signs. The best price received for the wooden style is $30,000. The lowest bid for using the metal ones is $3,750. Neither price includes the labor to install them. Both have reflective qualities but the wooden ones would require yearly maintenance and have a shorter life expectancy. Councilman David Fussell said the city has more important things to spend money on than the costly signs, but others on the council prefer the aesthetic qualities of the carved wooden ones that they believe contribute to the character of the community. It was decided to postpone the decision until the next meeting and to investigate other sign designs that might be decorative but more moderately priced.
A new golf cart ordinance was approved on second reading. Changes that were approved from the original ordinance are that the vehicles will be allowed on Lula Lake Road with the exception of a few intersections. The placement of signs to designate where they are and are not allowed was suggested. A second revision to the ordinance is to allow child seats to be used on the middle, front facing seat. Drivers must be 16 years old and they will be allowed to operate the carts with a learner's permit.
A privilege license was approved for Clayton Fuller, a new resident of the mountain. He is in the process of establishing a non-profit organization and raising funds to develop programs to fight poverty. The license will allow him to work from his home.
Mr. Haven reported that a new procedure that has been put in place for clearing debris along roadways in the neighborhood. The town has been divided into four zones; each will require two-two and a half weeks to clear. A schedule will be posted on the website and possibly signs posted to indicate when pickup will be in that zone so residents can plan when to leave brush on the street.
It was also announced that garbage pickup will be done only one day per week during the leaf season. Changes in leaf and brush removal will also be put in place. Residents will be notified to separate leaves from branches and brush for easier handling and loading. The city also will no longer pick up trees that have been cut up by contractors and left at the street. A letter with bullet points of these new rules will be drafted to notify people of them.
Mayor Sandy Gothard reminded the council that a fundraiser for Fairyland School will be held on Aug. 16 at the golf club. He also announced that the new office for Dr. Bill Moore Smith will be opening next Thursday. Participation was also encouraged for a luncheon of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 26 at the Fairyland Club. Mayor Gothard will be the guest speaker at the meeting.