Adairsville City Manager Pat Crook recommended at Tuesday's work session the filling of one vacancy to help alleviate the workload. Crook explained that personnel have been pulled from field work to help with administrative duties, keeping them from the work at hand. A vote to fill one of the vacant positions will be taken at Thursday's regular meeting.
The main focus at the moment is the addition of lines for service to Vista Metals, an aluminum smelting facility coming into the old Foley Concrete building. Once in full operation, Vista Metals is expected to become the city's largest consumer of gas. As Crook explained, Vista is not the only project demanding their attention.
"Terry [West, gas department superintendent] and the gas folks are extremely busy. He's had two people retire in the last year and they've not been replaced due to the hiring freeze," Crook said. "We will probably need to get that on the agenda if you all agree for Thursday to go ahead and fill that spot. It's not just Vista that's keeping them busy, there are a number of other projects. I think there are at least eight chicken houses out there that they're going to run service to and hook up and those will be some pretty big users
"They're picking up work and they're growing the system, which is a good thing. ... It will pay to fill the vacancy and then some."
Work for the service lines to Vista Metals was said to be on schedule with the company expecting to begin tests in the next couple of weeks and a "go live" date of Dec. 1.
The discussion of raising water and sewage rates was brought forth by former interim City Manager Bill McCain just before leaving office. The increase would be to help cover operating expenses and fund needed repairs and maintenance due within the next five years. This item was mentioned again Tuesday with the intention of bringing the matter to a vote next month.
"We talked about water rates and how they're not sufficient to fund the operations of the system. It's just they haven't been raised in a very long time and they're probably a third or maybe even 25 percent of what some other systems are charging. And we also need to go ahead and adopt the tiered rate structure for conservation reasons," Crook said.
She clarified that industrial users will not be regulated by a tiered rate structure to control costs and that a program will be looked into for seniors and disabled individuals living on a fixed income.
Also added to Thursday's agenda was participation in the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan being updated by Bartow County. Payment would have to be made into the program but is necessary to be eligible for federal assistance through loans or grants for disaster relief or preparation.
Lastly, the council will vote to reappoint Susan Gilmore to another two-year term with the Adairsville Downtown Development Authority.
The Adairsville City Council will meet again Thursday to vote on these items at 7 p.m. at city hall.