Byron moves ahead with drainage, groundwater projects

Telegraph correspondentJanuary 13, 2014 

BYRON -- The City Council on Monday gave the go-ahead for three small projects to help relieve drainage and groundwater problems in the city.

Councilman Michael Chidester brought the projects to the council from a committee he chairs dealing with drainage and stormwater issues.

Chidester said the first project will cost $13,585 and provide a system of ditches and piping from a spot where water backs up at a poor-working easement on Live Oak Court to a place it can be dumped into the Bay Gall drainage system.

The second project will help move surface water from an area near City Hall on Main Street, a neighboring former Byron school and new construction at 210 Moseley Road that will be the home of Ms. Patricia’s School of Dance and Gymnastics.

The project there will cost $12,300.

The cost of a third project is $4 per foot to provide a water-line loop in the Walker Road-Hawk’s Ridge subdivision. Chidester said construction of the new line would provide greater water pressure to hydrants. Mayor Larry Collins estimated the line would cover about a 1,000-foot stretch.

Byron resident James Schechterle questioned whether the first project would only increase drainage problems he has at his Red Oak Grove property. Chidester said the system of pipes and ditches should carry water from Live Oak Court past his property before releasing it.

Collins told Schechterle the city was aware of his problem and is working to alleviate it. He said the city first had to finish negotiations involving other private properties before efforts could begin to find a solution.

In other business, the council approved Chidester to serve as mayor pro tem for the new year.

The council also voted to spend $8,000 on repairs to the city animal shelter. Chidester said in its current state, the shelter wasn’t “fit for a poor, stray dog.”

Though all councilmen agreed the money should be spent for shelter repairs, Councilman Mike Chumbley said the city had given up a portion of special purpose local option sales tax money for a Peach County project to build an animal shelter to serve municipalities as well.

Council members said the shared shelter project has been at a standstill for about three years after plans were drawn up and, as Chidester put it, it turned into the “Taj Mahal of dog pounds” with costs much higher than expected.

In light of Byron committing money never spent on the shared animal shelter, Chumbley suggested the city move ahead with its dog pound repairs and send the bill to the county to see what happens. Other council members agreed.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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