Council approves half-million dollar contract to renovate well
by Chris Norwood
Feb 20, 2014 | 1376 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Talladega City Council unanimously approved a contract for more than half a million dollars Thursday night to thoroughly renovate and refurbish the Harmon Park Well.

The contract, with Mark Johnson Construction of Tuscaloosa, includes the construction of an aeration tower on top of the well to help eliminate volatile organic compounds from the well’s water. The presence of these compounds in the early 1990s, along with decreased water usage, is the reason the well was (voluntarily) taken off line in the first place.

According to city manager Brian Muenger, recent events impacting water pressure and the fact that the city’s wells are being run at full capacity 24 hours per day, seven days per week, would more than justify rehabbing Harmon Park, which would in turn take some of the pressure off the city’s other wells. The city first attempted to begin rehabilitation of the well in 2009, but the project was not funded. The redesign was contracted out in 2011.

In addition to the aeration tower, the current project also includes new casing, new pumps and new chemical feeders. Muenger said that, while the project is obviously expensive, the well is a known quantity, and would be cheaper to renovate than trying to dig a new well entirely.

City Purchasing director Terry Hanner said the project also includes a $10,000 contingency.

The initial low bid came in at $612,000, but Muenger and city officials were able to modify the scope of the project and bring the overall cost down to $544,000.

Also Thursday, the council:

O Agreed to allow a local Boy Scout troop to place eastern blue bird nesting boxes in various city parks.

O Saw Police Chief Jason Busby accept a $5,000 check from Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore towards the purchase and training of a dog.

O Heard an update from the Harvest Center Group, and was invited to their graduation ceremony Feb. 28.

O Set a public hearing for March 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mabra Center to discuss closing parts of College Street and Gertrude Street at the request of Talladega College.

O Announced that they would discuss hiring a new municipal court judge and a new court clerk, under a modified job description, after Hank Fannin and Rick Nixon, respectively, retire.

O Heard Parks and Recreation Director Stacy Jones report that youth basketball participation had skyrocketed since programs in the county had been included. The department is now pinched for practice space, however.

O Approved a memorandum of understanding with the county Emergency Management Agency regarding the use of the Bemiston Recreation Center.

O Announced that the standing resolution to participate in the emergency preparedness sales tax holiday Feb. 21-23 was still in effect.

O Announced a work session with the City Board of Education March 6 at 3 p.m. in the city manager’s conference room at city hall.

O Heard an update on the current paving project from Muenger.

O Voted unanimously to close part of Court Street during the Mardi Gras Parade, and 4-1 to suspend the open container ordinance in the same area, with Councilman Jarvis Elston dissenting.

O Agreed to continue the city’s health insurance coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama.

O Authorized Muenger to execute a quit-claim deed for L&N property purchased by Jim Preuitt from the city in the 1970s.

O Passed a resolution observing Arbor Day on Feb. 22.

O Surplussed a police car.

O Approved a policy for checking all employees and volunteers for histories of sexual abuse and misconduct.

O Agreed to purchase a building on East Street for $10,000, with plans for deconstruction likely once the state signs off.

O Approved a grant application for $2,000 with a $500 match for training for Historical Preservation Commission members.

O Approved an $8,500 grant application, with equal match, for rehabilitation plans for the Otts Building on the Square.

O Approved liens against four properties with inoperable vehicles on them.

O Approved changes to the business license schedule.

O Voted 4-0 to accept as city streets parts of the Bellview Subdivision, with Councilman Ricky Simpson abstaining.

O Approved the emergency purchase of a $20,595 rate controller for the water filtration plant.

O Approved an agreement with the TOP Trails Park Authority to clear undergrowth from water and sewer facilities for a cost of up to $4,500.

O Approved a $72,400 contract with InSite Engineering for the Brecon Circle sewer design project.

O Approved an $8,000 contract amendment with Krebs and Associates.

O Announced that electronic recycling day will be March 21 at Piggly-Wiggly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.