By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The Hartsville/Trousdale Water Board gave its approval to vehicle purchases and an upgrade to the sewer lift station in the industrial park during its meeting last Wednesday.

When CoreCivic decided to place its Hartsville prison in the PowerCom park, new sewer lines and a lift station were added in the park. However, according to Water Department manager Tommy McFarland, a design flaw has left the capacity lower than originally expected.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

While it is not currently a concern, problems would likely arise if another industrial client opted to locate within the PowerCom site.

“It could be a situation, someday, where we have conflict with that station,” McFarland told the board. “It’s protecting us from having to spend even more money down the road.”

The board approved plans to add a well and piping that will connect to the lift station. While an exact cost was not yet available, engineers working on the sewer project said they felt there were enough remaining funds in the project to accommodate the added equipment. Board members did approve up to $5,000 in funding if required.

McFarland also presented a proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year for the Water Department. The budget calls for a 3 percent raise for water employees and for an annual evaluation process to begin in 2019.

Board members gave their preliminary approval to the budget, which must still go before the County Commission when the county budget comes up for discussion, which typically takes place during May and June.

The board also voted to increase tap fees, which are charged for adding new homes or businesses to existing water and/or sewer lines.

“When you look at the cost of the tap, just in materials, we were below cost (in our fees),” said board chairman Mark Beeler.

Beginning April 1, fees for a ¾-inch meter (the most common for residential) will go from $2,000 to $2,250. A 1-inch meter will go from $2,250 to $2,600 and a 2-inch meter (typically for duplexes or small apartments) will go to $5,500.

McFarland also presented the board with requests for a number of vehicle purchases: a dump truck, a backhoe and two pickup trucks. The total estimate of the purchases came to just under $220,000, but McFarland said there was money freed up in the current budget to pay for them all.

“If we’re going to build lines and save $30,000 a year, we’re going to have the equipment to do it,” said board member Toby Woodmore.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.