By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Members of the Water Board approved a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year at their March 27 meeting, including a 3 percent pay raise for employees.

The raise is designed to bring the Water Department on par with other county departments that received a 6 percent raise in the 2018-19.

“This won’t require any rate increase for anything in here,” Water Department superintendent Tommy McFarland told the board. “We’re working to make sure we manage our stuff well and not be wasteful.”

Courtesy of Trousdale County government

A new water tank likely will not be in the plans until the following year’s budget, according to McFarland. State inspectors found deficiencies last year in several of the department’s tanks and the Water Board has been examining the possibility of purchasing one bigger water tank, potentially up to 1 million gallons. That would allow the problem tanks to be taken offline.

A metal building for the storage of Water Department equipment is also in the planning process and would be placed on land purchased by the Water Board behind the County Administration building on Broadway. Equipment is currently stored at the old City Hall building.

“Every time there’s a major flood, something gets wet in there,” chairman Mark Beeler told board members.

The budget estimates a profit of $148,828 in the upcoming year. As of February the department was showing a profit of just over $160,000 for the current year, not counting grant funds received of almost $450,000. That funding went toward the new sewer plant construction.

The budget must still be approved by the County Commission as part of the upcoming budget process.

Board members also approved a contract to accept and treat up to 22,400 gallons per day of leachate from the Smith County Landfill. The Water Department will charge $35 per 1,000 gallons plus $100 per day for labor and sample collections.

The Water Board had been approached with the request from Smith County in February but requested testing data to make sure the leachate would not harm Trousdale’s wastewater treatment plant. The contract can be terminated if the leachate does cause any issues at the plant.

If Trousdale receives the maximum amount daily, it would bring $4,420 per week to the Water Department.

“We want to help our neighbors, and we never know when down the road we might need (help),” Beeler said.

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