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BOC Meeting: Live Officially for the First Time

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The new camera sits above Jessica Millspaugh, City finance director and recorder.

It was a first for the City of Lakeland and 45 people took the opportunity to watch a meeting on Livestream.

The City introduced Livestreaming video of the BOC (Board of Commissioners) work session tonight (3.2.17).   Notice of the new technology was announced yesterday and will be continued for both City meetings and School Board meetings.

Meetings are archived for future viewing.  Link is https://livestream.com/lakeland .

There was a first reading of an amended ordinance pertaining to residential sewer user rates.  It stays on the regular agenda.

Emily Harrell, city engineer, recommended a tiered sewer rate with the following levels:

Tom Skehan, city planning director, helps Aimee Felker, KLB chair, with tree saplings distributed before the BOC meeting.

In her report to the BOC, Mrs. Harrell noted, “In a tiered system, levels of consumption are created with associated volumetric rates. Advantages of a tiered system include consistent rates not restricted to summer months and eliminating the base rate providing a more equitable rate structure. MLGW will support the proposed tiered system and continue to provide our billing service.”

Mrs. Harrell said users will be charged for actual usage, allow conservative users to see a reduction in their sewer charge.  However, users with irrigation systems will be charged a substantially reduced rate over 20 ccf.  She believes the tiered rates will provide a more equitable rate for all users while generating the needed revenue for capital improvement projects.

Amending of the amended ordinance stems to July 2016 when the residential sewer rate was adjusted to generate additional revenue for upcoming capital improvement projects. While minimum usage was decreased and volumetric rate increased, the removal of the $46 cap seemed to create the biggest flap.  The cap was determined to be unjust and unequitable but residents complained their bills went through the roof.

The City began a study with MLGW about possibly using winter averaging to reduce summer bills.  But according to Mrs. Harrell, the process of averaging each user’s off peak consumption annually would be labor intensive. Without MLGW support, the City would have to establish its own billing department.

Mrs. Harrell said the new system should promote conservation, but the goal is to provide an equitable rate.

Commissioner Matt Wright said he liked the conservation aspect but what about owners who have leaks?  Mrs. Harrell said a provision passed a couple of months ago addresses leak problems and provides refunds if the homeowner verifies the leak and makes repairs.

As noted by Vice Mayor Josh Roman, the original revenue needed for capital projects was $216,000 and it has been increased to $290,000.  He asked about the timing on the Clear Creek interceptor.  Mrs. Harrell estimated three years to start construction.  Mr. Roman asked if the sewer rate might go down after construction, and Mrs. Harrell said it could.  He also asked for details on the impact of leaving the rates flat for three years borrowing the money to finance the sewer project.  Jessica Millspaugh, City finance director, said that would impact City debt service.

In other meeting business:

  • Sgt. Rick Goforth from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office gave the monthly crime report. Among the 26 incident offenses, there were four thefts from motor vehicles and three were from unlocked cars; three residential burglaries, one via an unlocked door, two forced entry; most frequent time of day was 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; most frequent day of the week was Thursday.  The number of incidents decreased from January to February.
  • Mr. Atkinson gave his monthly report, noting the new Livestream; the Small Area Plan which goes to the EDC (Economic Development Commission), MPC (Municipal Planning Commission) and BOC; major upgrades at the Marathon gas station on Canada Road; and a new sign for Corner Shops on Canada Road. He said he went to the Shelby County Joint Economic Development Committee Board meeting today and Lakeland had the longest list of projects. He cited the I-40 interchange, Beverle Rivera Drive, Lakeland Middle Preparatory School, new residential subdivisions and The Lake District. “I was excited to present all this information,’ he said.
  • Resident Arnie Holcomb addressed Commissioner Clark Plunk about some issues from August 2016. Within his allotted three minutes, he said he did not finish his presentation and would be back.
  • There was a final reading amending the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget. It goes to public hearing and final vote next week (3.9.17).
  • Five resolutions went to the consent agenda: a contract with Watkins Uiberall, PLLC for a City audit; an amendment to the Sewer Enterprise Fund; a residential subdivision development contract for phase 2 of Oakwood Grove subdivision; and a site development contract with The Pet Hospitals of Lakeland.

Link to the entire agenda: http://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/637

Prior to the meeting, Tom Skehan, City planning director, and Aimee Felker, Keep Lakeland Beautiful (KLB) Advisory Committee chair, gave away eight species of tree saplings to residents who came to City Hall.  It was part of a commemoration of 11 years of Lakeland being a “Tree City.”

Photos by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents.