Monterey Town Council Discusses Upgrades To Sewer System

Monterey, VA – During its regular meeting on Thursday night, Monterey council considered upgrades to its sanitary sewer system. The town has $168,000 in leftover USDA Rural Development grant money to spend, if it can find problem areas in its sewer system to justify a project.

Mayor Janice Warner informed council that an engineering firm had inspected 658 feet of sewer lines at Highland High School with a video camera last Friday, to locate storm water leaks into the sanitary sewer. The mayor reads a summary of the engineer’s report.

“We TV’ed several sanitary sewer lines at the Highland County School, in an attempt to locate any possible infiltration,” she read. “We found a few offset joints and deposits that had settled in the lines, but no major defects.”

Town water plant operator Mike Isles said the video camera could not reach all areas and recommends more testing in the spring.

“When spring breaks, we can try to get some custodians to put some water and dye through the drains on the roof,” he said.

Warner said she would ask town engineer Brad Craig for advice and urges Isles to do the additional testing as soon as possible.

“I say this, not with urgency, but it really needs to be taken care of,” she said. “We have this money, that we’re going to lose, if we don’t get this done.”

The Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s 40-year franchise with the town is set to expire this year. The mayor said she had received a proposal from the electric company to pay a fee of $100 to renew the franchise for another 40 years. The company paid a $100 fee for the franchise in 1972.

Councilmember Butch Washer says the fee should have gone up, like everything else.
Well, I think, in the last 40 years, I believe most everything around town has gone up,” he said. “We won’t discuss the electricity going up, but I think our franchise fee should go up a little bit.”

Council agreed to have town attorney Melissa Ann Dowd review the proposal, and will consider the matter at next month’s meeting.

Council considered a request from Robertson’s Trailer Park to adjust a water bill. A frozen pipe caused a water leak in one of the park’s units, resulting in a high bill. The leak was repaired as soon as it was discovered and the owner has never requested a bill adjustment in the past. Councilmember Francis Fenn says council had approved a similar, previous request.

“We adjusted the church’s bill because they had a leaking commode,” he said.
Warner says council should treat everybody the same.

“I think that we have adjusted people’s bills and it would certainly look like we were treating everyone the same, if we did,” she said.

Council approved the bill adjustment by a unanimous vote.

Councilmember Don Dowdy updated council on the status of town welcome signs. Council ordered four natural stone signs, to be placed at town limits on routes 220 and 250. Dowdy said he had visited proposed sign locations with a VDOT representative and adjusted the sign locations. Two proposed locations are now off of the state right-of-way.

Warner said the town would need to secure easements for any signs on private property. Dowdy and councilmember Tony Stinnett will finalize sign locations and consult with Dowd to secure to secure any necessary permissions. Isles said the town had another concern with the signs.

“Keep people from using them for target practice,” he said.

In other business, council approved to pay for Isles to attend wastewater treatment training in March and April.

The next Monterey council regular meeting is scheduled for April 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Highland County Library.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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