CALEDONIA — The Caledonia Board of Alderman hiked up the rates on utility reconnection services, prepared to purchase a new aerator and discussed putting in a new town sign.
Water Department director Barrett Baggett appealed to the board to readjust their disconnection policy. The town had been charging $15 to reconnect someone after a failure to pay bills. Baggett said that money does not even cover the labor expenses of reconnection, a process he said takes about an hour to get someone back into the water line.
“We don’t have any technicians that even make $15 an hour,” Baggett said.
He said a $50 reconnection fee would cover their expenses and provide a deterrent to allowing utilities to be disconnected. The board voted unanimously to approve the $50 reconnection rate. It goes into effect immediately.
New equipment needed
Baggett told the board the town needs to purchase a new aerator as soon as possible.
“The quote for the general pump is $19,600,” Baggett said. “That includes the aerator and all the electrical controls to hook it up. That does not include hooking up the aerator, that’s the hardware.”
He said there will be few costs with hooking up a new aerator other than a deposit on a new meter. The need, he said, is immediate. The board was ready to accept the bid, but Mayor Bill Lawrence pointed out that they only had one bid. Government entities are required to have at least two bids on a purchase over $5,000. The alderman considered declaring a state of emergency and going through with the purchase, but alderman Mitch Wiggins pointed out the board was planning to recess until August 11. He asked if Baggett could get another bid by then. Baggett said he could. The board is expected to make a purchase next week.
Possible new sign
Wiggins later proposed the town consider putting up a new sign welcoming people to Caledonia. He suggested placing a large, brick welcome sign on Wolf Road near the town park that acknowledged Caledonia Elementary School as the state’s only Blue Ribbon School.
“Our biggest draw is our schools,” Wiggins said. ‘I think it would be worth acknowledging and promoting that.”
The board discussed the signs being similar to the brick Columbus welcome signs on Highways 82 and 45. They agreed to look into the matter and speak with the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau about assistance in funding the potential project.
The board recessed until August 11 so that Lawrence and town clerk Alica Carter could assist with Tuesday night’s election.