At a called meeting held following a closed session at the conclusion of the City of Gray’s monthly committee meeting, council members adopted updated job descriptions and then appointed a new city superintendent and assistant superintendent.
Mayor Ed Barbee called the June 15 committee meeting to order, which was held at the D.V. Childs Civic Center to allow for social distancing space. The all committees meeting addressed a request from the Board of Education and discussed sewer capacity.
School Superintendent Chuck Gibson said the school system was adding to Jones County High School. He said the project included adding a visitor’s field house, which needs water.
Gibson said the project was at a cost of $250,000 and also required a hydrant for fire protection. The fire hydrant would require a six-inch waterline.
“We have no preference how the water gets there or who puts it there,” he said.
The superintendent said he has been made aware that, in order for Jones County to provide the water, a change was needed in the service delivery strategy between the entities.
“I ask you to do what needs to be done so we can move forward with the project,” he said.
Councilman Terry Favors asked where the nearest city service was to the project, and Earl Colvin with the school system said the nearest city water line was at the baseball field. He said for the city to run waterlines for the field house was almost impossible. Colvin added that the county waterline was just across the street.
Mayor Pro Tem James Collins said the city received a letter with the information and an amendment was needed to change the service delivery strategy.
Barbee said each councilman had a letter in their box from County Commissioner Chris Weidner stating that the county had already contacted the Middle Georgia Regional Commission to start on the amendment.
Gray Water Treatment Plant Operator Cheyenne Morgan said the city needs a meter on the line to know how much to bill the school for sewer. Colvin said there would be separate meters on everything.
Collins said the county can provide the water and the city would provide the sewer.
“We can make this change and help the schools,” he said.
Gibson pointed out that the usage would amount to seven home football games.
Councilman Terrell Fulford said he was fine with the changes. He said his only issue was the reading of the water meter.
City Attorney John Newberry said the city would have to wait on the MGRC for the service delivery strategy amendment.
The mayor had the last word on the topic.
“We need to put the kids first,” he said.
Councilman Benny Gray said the question of the city’s sewer capacity was brought up at the last meeting, and he asked if that information was available. Morgan said the city was at 87 percent capacity in January, 90 percent in February, 87 percent in March and 111 percent in April.
He said the city received a notice of violation for the April overage. Morgan said the monthly average was 360,000 GPD and the city’s permitted capacity is 400,000 GPD.
Fulford asked about inflow and infiltration work, and Morgan said he thought that was a good bit of the flow. He said he thought the wastewater treatment plant would be helped by an I&I program.
“The EPD is not going to tell you that you can’t add more sewer customers, but if you break the permit, you will be getting fines,” he said.
Barbee asked where the city was with smoking the sewer lines to find problem areas.
Morgan answered that it had not been started yet. He said city departments had been working short staffed.
City Clerk Cindy Yancey said the city was already aware of I&I issues on Dolly Street from a 2015 CDBG grant. She said that means Dolly Street would be a good starting point.
Morgan added that another problem area is the lines leading into the Glover Lane pumping station.
Collins said the I&I problem was a top priority, and he would like to get a team to work on it.
Gray asked Newberry to come up with the number of sewer commitments by the city. The attorney said he was not concerned about old commitments from 2004. He said the agreements now have an expiration date of 18 months if the project has not begun.
“We can approve projects on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Fulford asked if Carter and Sloope engineers had reported on the progress of the city’s GEFA loan application for the new wastewater treatment plant. Yancey said the city had not heard from the engineers.
Collins, who serves as the chairman of the personnel committee, said the city’s work schedule had been reduced due to the COVID-19 shutdown, and he felt it was time to phase back into a 40-hour workweek.
He suggested employees come back starting June 22 and city buildings open back up to the public the following Monday, June 29.
Council members were all in agreement to the plan.
The chairman also talked about job descriptions for city employees that were in packets for the council members.
Councilman David Tufts said he would like to grandfather in some employees and allow them to work toward the needed requirements.
As chairman of the streets committee, Tufts opened bids from companies vying for the contract to pave roads as part of the city’s LMIG 2020 project. City Clerk Ashley Roberson said the bids would be placed on a spreadsheet for council members to review at their July 6 meeting.
The meeting was adjourned to enter into closed session.
Council members returned following the closed session, and Barbee opened a called meeting. The first item of business was a resolution to adopt revised job descriptions for city employees.
The resolution was approved unanimously.
The council also appointed interim city superintendent Frank Ross to the position of city superintendent; Morgan was appointed assistant city superintendent and water and wastewater treatment plant manager; and Chris Neal was appointed public works manager.
The appointments were unanimous.