December 15, 2010 10:51:00 AM
WEST POINT -- West Point residents who are fed up with power outages caused by downed tree branches could soon find some relief.
The West Point Board of Selectmen Tuesday night agreed to accept a contract for tree-trimming services with Laurel-based M&M Line Clearance. The company will be used on an as-needed basis to trim trees around city power lines at a rate of approximately $80 per hour.
Selectmen earlier this year agreed on a bid by West Point-based Houlk Tree Service to trim limbs around utility lines at a rate of $50 to $55 per hour, said Dwight Prisock, the city''s electric superintendent. But Prisock is having difficulty contacting Houlk Tree Service and the company has not returned phone calls, he said.
Prisock went before Selectmen Tuesday and recommended the board contract with M&M, saying recent power outages were a result of limbs which had fallen on utility lines. Outages were reported on Clark Circle and in the Dunlap Acres areas on Saturday due to downed tree branches, Prisock said.
"Most of the outages we have are related to a lack of line clearing," Prisock said.
M&M was the last company to have a contract with the city to clear lines, but it hasn''t been done in three to five years, Prisock said.
"The quicker we get this done, the less outages we have," West Point Mayor Scott Ross said.
With winter weather already enveloping the Golden Triangle, an ice storm could down limbs throughout the city and knock out power to thousands, Ward 2 Selectman Homer Cannon said.
"I don''t want to put us in a position where a storm comes through ... and we end up costing ourselves more money," Cannon said.
In other business Tuesday, selectmen voted unanimously for the city to accept control of White Station Water Association and add its approximately 300 customers to West Point''s existing system. The move will bring the city an additional $15,000 per month in revenue, West Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said.
Ross said the takeover, which still must be approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission, "will make our water system stronger with a positive cash flow every month." The White Station Water Association has a new pumping station and water tower, and is in "good" working order, Ross said.
Selectmen agreed to take control of the water association and assume all its assets and liabilities. The water association asked the city to take it over, Jones said.
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