Petersburg Fire Department representatives were on hand at the board of mayor and aldermen meeting last week to discuss problems with the town’s 1976 model fire truck, asking that efforts be made to begin saving money for a new truck.
Representatives of the fire department said that they didn’t believe the 1976 model truck was worth repairing, given the age and problems with the truck. Certified mechanics for fire trucks would have to repair the truck to maintain the city’s ISO rating, and the department was quoted a repair estimate of $5,000 to $50,000.
“That’s a ‘76 model vehicle, and I’ve got 12 guys’ lives depending on it,” said Capt. Bobby Jett of Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department.
The department representatives requested that any remainder of the $4,500 allotment the department is given annually be set aside in a special fund for the future purchase of another fire truck.
“We want to be able to save up some money — maybe they’ll have a matching grant,” said Jett.
The captain said it is not critical at this point, and the department doesn’t want to spend money that the city doesn’t have right now.
The board voted to approve setting aside funds left over from the $4,500 budgeted amount for the fire department into a special fund for a new truck. That action is pending approval from MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Services).
During the water report to the board, Jack Atchley, operator of the Petersburg Water Department, stated that Sara Brown, RPO coordinator for South Central Tennessee Development District, was in Petersburg last Friday finalizing paperwork at the completion of the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) water line improvements. The final inspection was Friday.
Atchley stated that he and Tim Hill, operator, completed the inspection of the water system improvements and by doing so saved the Petersburg Water System nearly $12,599. The saved money will go directly into the water department fund.
Atchley explained that last year Petersburg’s Water Department received a letter from the Tennessee Water & Wastewater Financing Board concerning a financial loss the water department had during 2010 and 2011. As a result, the water rates were raised. But, Atchley said, there were also bookkeeping errors during those years that may have contributed to the system showing a loss.
“I think a lot had to do with the bookkeeping,” Atchley said, referencing a former bookkeeper in 2010 to 2012.
Since then, the 2012 audit has shown a profit and has kept the water system from being put on notice by the state, he explained.
Angie Taylor, town recorder, prepared the 2012 audit.
“We’re no longer on notice,” stated Atchley.
During old business, Atchley stated he would like to see the city continue to pay back the Rural Development loan ahead of schedule.
“We’re way ahead of the payment schedule — $8,500 I think is what we owe. The more we pay down, the more we save on interest,” he said. “That still puts us well over $12,000 profit for the year.”
In other discussion, Corey Smith, alderman and planning commissioner, noted that the Marshall County portion of Petersburg has achieved a Three Star rating. The Three Star program, he said, is based on an annual evaluation and activity plan. It is geared to assist community development efforts and to ensure communities compete at a higher level through enhancing and improving community assets.
Marshall County’s Three Star rating means there is a chance that Petersburg will be eligible for a $10,000 Community Development Block Grant.
Smith went on to say that Will Owen, an engineer with Griggs & Maloney, let him know about a grant that would pay to have Petersburg’s ditches cleaned out.
“It’s a $250,000 grant with no matching funds,” Smith said. “He thinks we have a real good chance of getting it.”
While discussing codes for Petersburg, Smith stated that letters to homeowners will be sent out this month regarding the clean-up of dirty lots. He stated that property codes should be enforced if the town ever wants to move forward and attract retail business.
In related discussion, Smith pointed to the 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code as it relates to pools in Petersburg. Smith stated that pools less than four-feet high must have a barrier around them. However, on pools four-feet or higher, the ladder must be taken out of the pool when not in use. This is a safety measure to keep children from climbing into a pool unattended.
Earlier in the meeting, Commissioner John Thorpe swore in a new board member, Tim Bates, who will replace Kenneth Richardson who has some health challenges.
While reading statistics on the Senior Citizens Center, Trish Brewton, director, stated that a record number of meals were served to seniors in the month of May.
“We served 458 meals — it is a record for us,” stated Brewton.
She said that South Central Human Resources Agency (SCHRA) might put a cap on the number of meals they deliver in July though. She also noted that the Senior Center would lose $1,600 this year since Lincoln County will not be funding non-profits.
“The board is working on a fundraiser,” she said.
Mayor James Owen expressed his appreciation for all of the volunteers, including those for the fire department, Senior Citizens Center and the Parks and Recreation Department.
“Thanks to all the volunteers for making this town better,” the mayor said.
Following a discussion regarding the payment for the signs designating Railroad Street as J.D. Whitaker and Charlie Moore Memorial Boulevard, the issue was tabled for this month. The state will not pay the $300 for the signs, officials said.