Several project updates were the main topic of discussion during the Tuesday, Oct. 12, Andrews Town Council meeting, including the town waterworks project, sidewalk project and the FEMA buyout.
Council President John Harshbarger started the meeting off by having Eric Woodmansee, of AME Consulting, give progress updates for the waterworks project. According to Woodmansee, Mike Kleinpeter, of Kleinpeter Consulting Group LLC, was still moving forward with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) portion of the project.
In order to move the town wells to a clean aquaphor, requirements such as purchasing the land, doing several tests and filing applications for funding will need to be done. Two of the requirements that the town had to meet before purchasing a plot of land was to finish an archaeological reconnaissance and an environmental review. Woodmansee stated that both of those reviews came back clear.
There is still no word on what sort of grant or loan money that Andrews will receive from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan program, meaning that other aspects of the project are at a stand-still.
“We’re just kind of in a holding pattern,” Woodmansee said. “We’re doing as much as we can on OCRA’s side, but from a design standpoint, we’re just kind of in a holding pattern, waiting for word (from SRF).”
Harshbarger explained to those gathered at the meeting that council was originally supposed to receive word on their funding situation with SRF two weeks prior.
Next, Woodmansee discussed the progress that had been made on the town sidewalk projects. Prior to the meeting, council members Harshbarger and Roger Newsome met with Woodmansee to look at and discuss the progress that had been made on the new sidewalk on Main Street. There is a portion poured in front of Bud’s Sports Bar and Woodmansee stated during the meeting that it “looks good.”
Discussion about the sidewalk across the street being replaced during the next phase of the project also took place. Woodmansee plans to look into how much it would cost to replace a piece of the curb located across the street when that portion of the project gets started.
“We were going to keep the old part because it’s not poured with the sidewalk, but at the end of the day, you would have a brand new sidewalk and an old piece of curb sitting there,” Woodmansee said. “So, depending on how much it costs, let’s look into getting that – all of that sidewalk brand new over there and not having an eyesore.”
In unrelated business, Harshbarger presented updates on the town’s FEMA buyout progress.
“We’re still waiting to hear back from our two appraisers,” Harshbarger said. “The project is on hold, basically, until they get back with us because we can’t close on the properties until that time.”
The buyout has to be completed by October of 2022, meaning that the clock is ticking down quickly and there are still several properties that still need to be appraised and purchased. After the town spends the money on the properties, they will receive reimbursements – and use that funding for the next set of properties involved in the buyout.
Councilwoman Laura Dillon suggested that the matter be tabled until proper paperwork could be filed and additional appraisers could be found, but Harshbarger reminded her that doing so could delay the project even further.
Dillon made a motion to contact the appraisers again and to appoint them as the official appraisers for the buyout.
In unrelated business, Harshbarger shared news regarding Raytheon’s scheduled cleaning of the town’s water wells, which is well behind schedule. Harshbarger stated that council had “asked repeatedly” over the course of a year for drawings and plans for how Raytheon would handle roof repairs after having to cut holes in the wells to do the cleaning. Once the plans finally did arrive, Harshbarger was not pleased.
“As far as I was concerned, it’s totally unacceptable,” Harshbarger said.
He went on to explain that Raytheon representatives had been told several times that the town wanted hatches to be put in so that if the roof had to be taken off again, everything would already be in place to do so. But the plans he had received from Raytheon merely showed that they would cut a section of the roof out, frame it up with 2x4 planks of wood, place the same roof piece back on the 2x4’s and then paint and caulk them.
Harshbarger suggested that the town hire a contractor of their own to do the work they wanted to have it done and then send Raytheon the bill for it.
According to Dillon, the original schedule that had been set in place stated that Raytheon should have been completing the cleaning of the town’s third water well by today, Monday, Oct. 18.
“That’s how far behind we are with this,” Dillon said.
A motion was made to go with Harshbarger’s plan of hiring their own contractor and sending the bill to Raytheon. The contractor will come out to give an estimate on the project before doing any work and Raytheon will be notified of the cost.
In other business:
• Town Marshal Austin Bullock requested funds to order a new laptop for his police vehicle. He explained that, while the current laptop he has in his vehicle does still function, if he waits until it completely stops working to order a new one, he could be without it for a few months. He also reminded council that he was still waiting on the radio that the department had ordered back in April. The cause of the delay in receiving the radio was still due to chip shortages.
• During the Monday, Sept. 27, Town Council meeting, Trick-Or-Treat hours were set for Saturday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 7 p.m.