Thursday, June 13, 2024
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City Council hears updates on public works projects

By Laura Ray

MURRAY – Thursday’s Murray City Council meeting featured a Public Works report, a report from Republic Services, which provides curbside recycling for the city, and an update on the water treatment plant project. 

Chairman Monty McCuiston reported that the Public Works Committee, which consists of Vice Chair Danny Hudspeth, Jeremy Bell, Wesley Bolin, Joe Darnall and Bonnie Higginson, met right before the council at 5:45 p.m. After hearing a plan from Republic Services’ Bobby Stewart, the committee voted to offer recycling for commercial businesses in Murray. The possibility of including businesses was discussed when residential services were instituted. Approximately 650 residential customers take advantage of curbside recycling services

Stewart reported to the council that Republic Services and the Public Works Committee had agreed to workshop a plan for the company to provide a proposal to amend the current contract. Sanitation Manager Ron Allbritten said that Murray produced 90.5 tons of recyclables in 2023. When asked for an estimate by Councilman Terry Streeter, Stewart replied that they measure by yard, so he could provide the pound per yard and that with single-stream recycling, it would be approximately one pound per yard for each business.

Next, Chief Water Plant Operator Paul Wood provided the council with an update on the water treatment plant project. Wood mentioned that this year marks his 25th anniversary working for the city and discussed memorable water main breaks across his tenure, such as the 2009 ice storm that coincided with a regionwide power outage. He recalled praying over the old plant’s emergency generator, which is over 30 years old, during the Dec. 10, 2021, tornados. The water plant system “needed a huge update,” Wood explained. 

The scope of the project included updates such as replacing the aging plant emergency generator, installing a new electrical building, replacing an old electrical panel from 1960 along with the controls and wiring, installing four new emergency generators at well pumps (which previously did not have a backup power system), upgrading the computer system that monitors and controls the equipment and replacing chlorine gas with a sodium hypochlorite generation system, which is a safer alternative. 

For the plant, this means quicker and safer water processing. According to Mr. Woods, the plant pumped about 1.2 billion gallons in 2023 and that, last month, 104,435,000 gallons had been treated. In January 2024, more than 4.5 million gallons were sold to the Dexter/Almo water district and over 1.5 million gallons were sold to South 641 water district. 

The final slide on Wood’s presentation concluded that now “We are better prepared for a natural disaster, our employees and community are safer, and our plant operators have better tools to treat our drinking water.” 

But what does this boil down to for citizens? As Mayor Rogers pointed out, the 2017 water main break not only caused inconvenience, but shut down restaurants and schools. Broken water mains can have a big impact on the community, he explained, citing that Murray businesses lose approximately $1.1 million is lost per day each day a water main is broken. Rogers went on to say that the water treatment plant project was paid for out of city resident’s water bills, but that the city also had to borrow money. 

Turning to board and commission appointments, Cheryl Crouch was reappointed to the Senior Citizens Board for a one-year term, while Dan Renick was reappointed to the Murray-Calloway County Hospital Board of Trustees for a four-year term. Municipal Order 2024-005 was also passed in a voice vote, appointing Tonya Wetherington to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to fill Vishal Patel’s unexpired term, which ends on Nov. 24, 2024. 

A residential parcel of land in the county on 94 West near the intersection of Rob Mason Rd was declared property surplus in a voice vote. It was explained that the property was originally purchased for wells, but that it was no longer needed and ready to be sold. Mayor Rogers stated that now the parcel was declared surplus, the city would advertise the sale. 

Lastly, the council went upstairs to the boardroom for an Executive Session to discuss pending litigation against or on behalf of the City of Murray. Mayor Rogers told guests that he was not expecting any further business once the council returned from Executive Session and no details were provided.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.


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