Buffalo Water Repairs & Rates

Repairs to old and failing water lines and an increase in customer water rates were the main concerns at the Buffalo City Council meeting, Monday, August 28th. All council members were present except Jerry Salazar. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

The council discussed the results of a recent camera survey for damages into Well #4 located on the Donie Road (Highway 164). This is the city?s newest well ? established in 2007. The survey revealed a crack in the casing. Everyone agreed to do all the repairs needed on the well.

The cost of the repairs will be over $49,000. The work will be done by Holly Well Service of Huntsville. Council person Dianne Ryder requested that references be collected on Holly Well Service since the council was not going out for bid on this project.

The decision to use Holly Well Service was made because Holly Well Service had performed the camera survey. Holly Well Services was recommended to the city by John Lusk of Goodwin, Lasister, and Strong Architectures. Rusk and his firm have performed many successful projects for the city.

Also approved were the replacement of old water lines on East Railroad Street. This project will cost the city over $100,000. The project will follow the completion of the lines that are currently being replaced on East Highway 79. The project on East Highway 79 is being funded through a grant the city was able to acquire.

Another major project concerning the water lines was also approved. The oldest cast iron water lines around and radiating away from City Hall will be replaced at a cost to the city of about $139,000. This is the first step of a possible plan to continue to replace the oldest city water lines on a five to ten year plan that has not yet been developed, but most members of the council seem to agree is needed to sustain the city?s infrastructure.

Council members next discussed the need for increased income in order to provide the repairs that are needed by the city?s water customers. The council approved a rate increase of $2.50 for water and an increase of $2.50 for sewer. This increase will mean a $5 increase in the monthly water bills for all Buffalo water customers.

Dates for two public hearings over the proposed tax rate were set. The public hearings will be September 5th at 5pm and September 11th at 6pm. The proposed tax rate is a small increase from the current .500626 to .507157.

A brief discussion was held on paving Humphries Street and Medical Drive, but it was tabled. The item was tabled because plans are underway to begin construction of the new nursing home on Humphries Street. The concern was that while the construction was in process, heavy trucks may create road damage, so it was agreed to wait until the construction is completed before repaving the two roads.

The council voted to nominate Jennifer Humphries to the Leon Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. Humphries was also nominated for this position by the Buffalo School Board.

Buffalo Police Chief Lance Pavelka presented the board with the report of July?s activities in the Police Department. There were 80 calls for service last month which included 5 Theft, 1 Driving While Intoxicated, 1 Assault, and 1 Indecency with a Child. There were also 180 citations issued.

The police department continues to work with outside agencies to assist in vehicle accidents. Pavelka also continues to caution citizens to the many scams that are still in operation. ?I still hear from people who are scammed,? said Pavelka. ?Do not respond to phone calls or emails from the IRS. The IRS will notify you by mail if you owe them money.?

In council comments, Ryder expressed appreciation for the low amount of water loss from last month. ?That is the least amount we have seen in a long time,? said Ryder.

Council person Glenn Hightower stated that he felt the city was ?moving in the right direction? to begin the work on the water repairs needed by Buffalo residents.