The New Albany Board of Aldermen has approved the sale of revenue bonds to finance expanding city natural gas service into rural areas west of the city. The decision came at the board’s Tuesday evening, Oct. 2 meeting.
Expansion of natural gas service
City officials and the Mississippi Public Service Commission started working to provide gas service to portions of rural Union and Marshall counties several years ago. The expansion of gas service will require construction of approximately 16 miles of gas pipeline in western Union County and eastern Marshall County. New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW), the city-owned utility company, received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $600-thousand to help finance construction of the pipeline.
Monday night the city board approved the sale of $3-million in general obligation revenue bonds to complete financing of the gas pipeline construction. The bonds will be serviced by revenue generated from the sale of natural gas to approximately 150 new customers. Households that do not have natural gas service must buy much more expensive bottled gas for home heating. The new customers benefit from access to the less expensive energy source and NALGW and the citizens of New Albany receive the benefit of a reliable new revenue stream.
Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley held a hearing in New Albany July 20 of this year regarding authorizing NALGW to expand its natural gas service, and the PSC approved the project.
Revenue for water and sewer system
During the Tuesday evening meeting, the aldermen also gave preliminary approval to a proposal to sell $7.9-million in revenue bonds for improvement to the NALGW water and sewer system. NALGW General Manager Bill Mattox said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) would provide bond revenue for the water and sewer system work.
Pin Oak trees…again
The controversial matter of 150 pin oak trees planted in April along both sides of Park Plaza Drive came before the board again Tuesday evening. Second Ward Alderman Johnny Anderson made a formal motion to remove all of the new trees on the west side of Park Plaza Drive. There ensued a discussion about whether or not many of the trees may already have died. Some said 20-some trees are dead. Others said more than 50 of them have died. Mayor Tim Kent said landscape architect Sam Creekmore had told him that some of the trees dropping their leaves early did not necessarily mean they are dead, and that some of the young trees may have dropped their leaves earlier than others because of a natural survival mechanism.
Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker said he would support Anderson’s motion if he would amend it to include also removing half (every other one) of the pin oaks on the east side of Park Plaza. When it was put to a vote, Ward One Alderwoman Amy Livingston, Third Ward Alderman Kevin Dale White and Alderman-at-Large Keith Conlee voted against Anderson’s motion. Anderson and Tucker voted for it and thus the motion did not pass.
City planning needs
Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud reported that she was in discussions with Bob Barber of Orion Planning and Design, a consulting firm located in Hernando, Miss. Barber spoke to a public meeting here on August 30 regarding city planning. He said then that he believes the city does not need an entirely new strategic plan, but should build on planning work done in earlier years. He observed that the most pressing need was updating portions of the city code including the building code. The Board of Aldermen including $40,000 for such work in its FY2019 budget. Stroud said Barber is working on a proposal regarding the specific work he would recommend.
The board approved the recommendation of Ward Four Alderman Will Tucker to appoint David Joyner to the city planning and zoning board.
With regard to the annual Tallahatchie Riverfest held last weekend, Stroud said, “We thought the Riverfest was a success.”
Mayor Kent said the bids for building a new Tanglefoot Trail welcome center near the Union County Library had come in much higher than expected. They city had $100,000 committed to the new welcome center from an ARC grant. However, the lowest bid came in at $218-thousand. Mayor Kent said he was able to get a commitment of another $40,000 from ARC, but the city would need to supply the additional $78,000 from its own funds to move forward with the project. The board voted unanimously to approve spending city money to complete the welcome center.
More about natural gas service: http://nanewsweb.com/rural-customers-natural-gas-service/
More about city planning: http://nanewsweb.com/city-planner-holds-public-meeting/
Pin oaks on Park Plaza Drive: http://nanewsweb.com/pin-oaks-along-park-plaza-drive/