Issues within the Hartford water department dominated most of the three and a half hour meeting on Monday evening, March 25.
The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m., with all members of the Hartford City Council present. Also present, Mayor Mary Radley and Recorder/Treasurer Judy Adair.
Public Works Director, Wendy Bryant presented the council with a slide show demonstrating the functions of their alert system designed for their waste water.
City employee Richard Galyen explained to the council the costs and necessity of replacing the old water meters throughout the city. Galyen stated that the city is loosing money through ineffective pricing and water loss because of those outdated meters.
Bryant added that they will be working throughout the remainder of the year to replace meters. Their goal is to have 80 percent of those replaced by the end of 2019.
Alderman Lanny Woodhull inquired about how the water meter rates could be adjusted to compensate for the loss. Galyen recommended adding a $3 maintenance fee and a .95 percent charge per the first 1,000 gallons of water. That same change would also be affixed to the sewer portion of the bill. After a lengthy discussion Woodhull said, “I don’t want to pay more, no one does. But our backs are against the wall on this.” He made the motion to put into effect the recommended charges on April 15. Alderman Norma Raye Morgan seconded the motion. The motion passed with four for the measure, including Woodhull, Morgan, Michael Fildes, Eddie Kazy; one against, Karen Griffin; and one abstaining, Danielle Woodard.
Mayor Radley said that she feels like the city is “a sinking boat, and that she is sticking her fingers in the holes trying to plug them.” She concluded, “we need to do something.”
Next, Radley suggested the council consider a raise for both Bryant and Galyen, who are currently making $12 and $9.25 per hour respectively. After going into executive session, Alderman Morgan made the motion to raise both Bryant and Galyen’s pay to $14 and $10.25 per hour. That motion passed unanimously.
In other items of business, the police department has received a new 2019 Dodge Ram 4×4 pickup truck. The council voted to keep one car outfitted as a spare in the event that one of the trucks are out of commission. The department now has two trucks and one patrol car.
Next, the council voted to remove all names from the city’s safe deposit box, and add Adair, Morgan, Radley and Fildes. Additionally, the council consented to the acquisition of a city credit card with a limit of $2,500.
Alderman Griffin asked the council to approve a new schedule for the exercise center and recreation room. The facility is located at the corner of Bolan and Broadway. The exercise center will now be open from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The recreation room hours are 6 -9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Hartford resident Jeff Ward informed the council on the status of the community garden. Ward has spearheaded the project, and invites anyone who wants to get involved to come by the location at the intersection of McCloud and Hazel. He has received some cash, seed and plant donations.
Adair shared about the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in helping with this
The council voted to move other items of business, including the amended budget for 2018, to a workshop meeting. With no other items of business, the meeting of the Hartford City Council was adjourned.