Benham discusses water system interconnect

By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com

February 28, 2014

A special called meeting of the Benham Council focused in large part on the proposed water system emergency interconnect between Cumberland, Benham and Lynch.

City Manager Roy Silver updated the council concerning the status of the interconnect project.

“When we lasted talked, we were still waiting on the attorney,” Silver told the panel.

According to Silver, the city received a copy of the proposed agreement on Monday.

Silver pointed out there are portions of the proposal the council should consider.

“The primary concern that I have — and that we need to build into this paper we’re going to sign — is who’s going to pay for what,” said Silver. “As of now, there’s no money in the account for the Tri-Cities Utility Authority.”

The TCUA will retain ownership of many interconnect facilities.

The proposed agreement outlines Benham’s responsibilities for the interconnect, which include providing the necessary personnel to regularly exercise the pumps in pump station number two and to perform other duties as required by the Department of Water. Benham will also be required to provide insurance for pump station two, and be responsible for monitoring the water quality in the sections of the system that fall under Benham’s control. Benham is also required to timely pay the electric bill for pump station two.

“The way it’s currently written, it says that Benham’s responsible for pumping station No.2, we have to insure it for $220,000 — that’s the value of it — and someone from the water department will have to do a test monthly to make sure it’s functioning,” said Silver.

Silver said it is unclear what the total costs would be.

“What I had proposed and what I’m going to advocate, was that instead of doing it that way, each city has that responsibility but then bills the Authority,” said Silver. “Add it up and divide it into thirds. I think that should be in the written document.”

Silver also mentioned a bulk rate would need to be set for the water used when the interconnect is in service.

In other council activity:

* Benham Fire Chief Tyler Cornett advised the council he has been discussing the possibility of combining training with the Lynch and Cumberland fire departments in order to increase the amount of training available to Benham firefighters;

* Following the meeting, Mayor Wanda Humphrey mentioned the city is planning on obtaining the financial records for the Coal Bin, a store operated by the city, during former Mayor John Dodd’s administration.

Joe P. Asher can be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, or on Twitter @joe_hde