By Steve Laster, Lakeland Currents staff
The controversial sewer ordinance was on the BOC agenda Jan 5. It will be presented for a public hearing and final reading at the regular meeting Jan. 12 at City Hall.
The proposed amendment to ordinance 16-243 pertaining to sewer user rates would change the rate to a ccf rate, comparable to MLGW water meter measurement. There will also be a section added dealing with charges due to faulty equipment or water leaks.
The BOC requested City staff re-evaluate the current sewer rate and seek ways to reduce sewer charges for irrigation customers. During the summer of 2016, residents complained to the City of their unusually high sewer bills in the hundreds of dollars. Second water meters were suggested, but the cost was $2,000 to $3,000 and residents felt those costs were prohibitive.
The staff is working with MLGW exploring options like a winter peak cap or cost reductions for irrigation meter installation. They are also running new rate models to safeguard revenue generated is adequate to ensure the generated revenue will cover the sewer funds net position and fund future capital improvement projects.
Commissioners asked for more time to discuss purchase of a new tractor and equipment, at a cost of $120,500. Emily Harrell, city engineer, said money to fund the purchase, a John Deer 6105E cab tractor with Alamo 60 rotary cutter and Alamo 3 blade buzz bar, is in the budget and would not require additional monies. She said this equipment would allow the City to trim vegetative growth along roadways and sewer rights-of-way and be a lot more efficient. Commissioner Clark Plunk asked that the resolution be put on the regular agenda.
Additional candidates applied for the vacancy on the EDC (Economic Development Commission). Kurt Wagner said he has lived in Lakeland 10 years and he and his wife are raising four daughters, all in the public school system. “I would like to give back to the community,” he said.
Stephen Brandenburg noted he had been a chiropractor 37 years, he is about to retire and, “It’s time to give back to the City. He and his wife have lived in Lakeland seven years, he said. Mr. Brandenburg said he was applying for the Zoning Board. Mayor Wyatt Bunker commented that the open position was for the EDC but Mr. Brandenburg might enjoy sitting on the Board of Appeals/Zoning. Mr. Brandenburg said he would just like to serve the City.
Not present but expected to apply for the EDC position is resident Bill Rose. The EDC selection will be made at the January regular meeting.
Lt. Cathy Crowder from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) gave the monthly crime report. She said incidents were up from November (21 reports) to December with 42 reports. Of those December incidents, 13 were from packages stolen from residents’ front porches. With the help of the USPS, two suspects were detained she said. Mayor Bunker commented there was a lot of help from social media with a video of one suspect posted and identity of the suspect by a Lakeland resident.
Lt. Crowder noted the Sheriff’s Department will continue to be visible in Lakeland and mentioned specifically Zadie Kuehl Park. Commissioner Michele Dial thanked Lt. Crowder for responding to her calls for help in the Park. “You are very intent in helping us deter crime in that park,” said Mrs. Dial. “I really appreciate you talking to us.”
In his report to the BOC, City Manager Jim Atkinson said the work on Beverle Rivera is in progress as well as drainage projects in Woodbridge, Plantation Hills and Old Brownsville Road.
He said Shaun Massey with The Shopping Center Group spoke to the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Board meeting Jan. 5. He is the lead leasing agent for The Lake District. “He has had a lot of success seeking tenants,” said Mr. Atkinson. “There are a lot of unique ideas for spaces. It is very encouraging.” He said Mr. Massey will be the guest speaker at the April Chamber luncheon.
Also in his report Mr. Atkinson said the City is now doing daily inspections of Zadie Kuehl Park.
Vice Mayor Josh Roman asked about the status of hiring an EDC liaison and Mr. Atkinson said the City is ready to advertise the position.
Sent to the consent agenda was a $69,000 contract for Fiscal Year 2017 sanitary sewer improvements. Mrs. Harrell said the bulk of the money would be spent on a sewer line on U.S. Highway 64.
Resident Jessie McCabe spoke about the Memphis Sport Shooting Association (MSSA) in Lakeland and close to his house. He had previously told the BOC he felt there is noise and lead pollution from the shooting range. City Attorney Chris Patterson was asked to review any legal measures the City could take.
Mayor Bunker announced that the Jan. 12 meeting would likely be the last for Commissioner Sherri Gallick who is selling her house and moving out of state. Her husband Randy has taken a job in Kansas City. “We will have a reception in her honor for her contributions to the City,” he said, “And everyone is invited.”