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Columbus L&W eyes new 5-year plan

 

CL&W General Manager Todd Gale

CL&W General Manager Todd Gale

 

 

Nathan Gregory

 

The Columbus Light and Water Board of Directors tabled a proposed five-year work plan for water and sanitary sewer improvements Thursday. 

 

Waiting a month before going forward with the plan will allow CL&W to coordinate with the city on the installation of new water mains and replacement of fire hydrants, General Manager Todd Gale said. It will also give the utility board time to review the plan's specifics. 

 

Plans for this year include replacing a 16-inch water line along 14th Avenue North. The five-year plan as it stands now includes about $1.15 million in capital improvements which will be paid for through general operating funds. Each year, $75,000 would be set aside to replace fire hydrants.  

 

Next year, About $242,000 would be dedicated toward improvements on Highway 182 as well as upgrading Joanna Fairway and 20th Street North from 2- to 6-inch water mains. In 2016, $192,000 would be used to add a new main on Hickory Ridge and upgrade the 2-inch main on 12th Avenue North to a 6-inch. Crews would also upgrade from 2- to 6-inch mains in the Southside area and Billups Drive in 2017 for an estimated $200,000. The same work would be done on Seventh Avenue North at Propst Park and Pleasant Ridge Circle in 2018 and 13th Street South and Lincoln Park in 2019 under this plan if it is approved. 

 

Ninety percent of a five-year capital improvement plan that ended last year was completed, Gale said. He added that if the city undertakes a $5 million bond issue for capital improvements of its own, including street paving and drainage, he would work with city leadership to find out when and where they were doing each project. CL&W can then work on any improvements it has to make to an area while construction is already going on there to prevent digging up a newly paved road to make upgrades, he said. 

 

"The mayor (Robert Smith) and I sat down and went through this so we could coordinate the city's paving efforts with our work so if we needed to move something up or down in our plan to accommodate paving, we could," Gale said. 

 

 

 

In other business: 

 

■ The board approved a contract with Landis+Gyr to install new, fixed-base electric meters for commercial and industrial businesses at a projected cost of $250,000-$275,000. 

 

■ The board agreed to contract with engineering firm Neel-Schaffer to design a water line that will serve the New Hope school. Between right-of-way acquisition and design, the project carries an $80,000 price tag; 

 

■ The board agreed to switch health insurance carriers for CL&W employees. They will now be covered by United Network Insurance instead of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi. Gale said that will result in a net savings of $100,000 a year.

 

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.

 

 

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