By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
After canceling their regular August meeting, the city of Olive Hill held two special meetings. The first to approve items on the original meeting agenda, and the second to approve the corridor annexation of property at the junction of Route 2 and I-64. That move could allow shops located there to apply for a license to sell alcoholic beverages.
Council met on Monday night to pass that ordinance after entering into a first reading last Thursday. During that Thursday night meeting council passed several items that had first readings during their regular July meeting. Those items included a grass trimming ordinance, an amendment to the existing mobile home ordinance, and a water rate increase, in addition to the 2020-2021 budget ordinance and a compensation classification ordinance.
The new grass trimming ordinance prohibits grass clippings and yard debris in the streets or on sidewalks. In addition to presenting a hazard to pedestrians and some motorists, such as motorcycle riders, the clippings and debris can also accumulate and clog storm sewer drainages. Violation of the ordinance will be treated as a class B misdemeanor.
The mobile home ordinance is an amendment of a 1989 ordinance relating to mobile homes within city limits. That ordinance grandfathered existing mobile homes and mobile home courts but prohibited any new trailers. With the passage of the new ordinance owners of existing mobile homes have a six month window within which they can replace their mobile homes with a newer mobile home in the event of an accident or disaster. Mayor Jerry Callihan said he believed the language of the old ordinance, which only allowed damaged trailers to be replaced with a permanent structure, was unfair to those currently living in mobile homes. He told council during the July meeting that he didn’t think folks who live in mobile homes should be punished simply because they can’t afford to build a house.
The water rate increase is part of an energy savings plan that included new streetlights and updates to the city’s water system. The rate increases are required as a part of the plan. Water rates will increase by 3.5% per year for the next 20 years under the new ordinance. Deposits due for service connection and tap fees will not change under the new plan and deposits will still be refundable after two years of connectivity.
At the Monday night meeting council also discussed, and tabled, a planned expansion of planning commission members. If council allows those who are not residents of Olive Hill, but own businesses or have an interest in the city, to serve on the board the ratio must be two to one. For example, if they wanted to add five non-residents to the commission, they would have to have ten residents, for a total of 15 commission members.
Council also heard from Brandon Marcum with Harshaw Trane on the water plant’s leak detection tool. Though that tool includes the ability to turn on alarms to alert the city to water leaks, Marcum said he wouldn’t recommend turning it on until more of the current leaks were repaired. Otherwise, he said, the alarms would be going off too regularly to be useful. He explained the alarms would work by comparing flows of water into a zone with the consumption by homes and businesses within a zone. If the influx of water into a zone exceeded the metered usage it would trigger an alarm indicating there was a leak in supply lines. Alarms could also be used to alert home owners that they were experiencing leaks on their side of lines by noticing if there was a constant flow of water through a meter.
“You can see the heartbeat of every home,” Marcum said.
Though the alarms aren’t currently turned on, the tool can already be used to allow the city to narrow their focus when looking at what lines need repair. For instance the Lawton zone is currently showing an 80 percent water loss, meaning that only 20 percent of the water flowing into the zone is making it to residences based on variances between the meter for the zone and meters on individual homes. That means instead of walking all lines looking for leaks, utility crews can narrow their focus to the Lawton zone.
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