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Inspection of City Manholes Now Underway

Abandoned wells is topic of discussion.

Council members tabled a request posed by city employee Janice Lorrain Tuesday evening during the regular session of city government.  Lorrain asked council for permission to apply for a grant of $10,000 – $15,000 for the purpose of hiring individuals to canvas door-to-door in Ava’s residential areas, with the purpose to attain data about abandoned wells on their property.

Council members questioned the effectiveness of the proposed idea, and thus voted to table the issue.

However, during the discussion, council members offered ideas and more economical ways of obtaining abandoned well info from residents. Suggestions tendered by the board were in lieu of grant money.

Nonetheless, it was the general consensus of council that additional discussions were warranted as the abandoned well sites pose a threat to ground water sources, and continue to be a safety issue for children and residents.

In a unanimous vote, city council adopted a new protocol standard for those interested in bringing issues to the board in open session meetings.  The guidelines are as follows:

“City of Ava, Missouri Code of Ordinance SECTION 2-73(4) Public Comments – Any person or group wishing to address the Board of Aldermen must first put their request in writing to the City Clerk at least ten business days prior to the meeting they plan to attend.  The City Clerk shall give the requests to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. If the Board of Aldermen wish to hear oral discussion of the requests, they shall inform the City Clerk to post the request under the public comments section on the agenda; and, the person who made the request or a person representing the group who made the request, shall be limited to five minutes to address the Board of Aldermen regarding that specific subject.”

Phil Walsack, an employee with Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) updated council on the progress of the manhole inspection project that is presently underway in the City of Ava.  The inspections are required by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and will be incorporated into the By-Pass Elimination Plan.

Walsack stated the city has approximately 462 manholes set for inspection, and the task is a priority this year.  The inspection work has started on the northeast side of town, and if weather conditions cooperate, the crew should be able to inspect 60-70 manhole sites daily. Walsack noted 55-60 were inspected Tuesday and each one looked normal.  He also said a photo­graph and detailed description will document each site.

Walsack noted his assistance with the project is included in the city’s membership in MPUA.  There is no additional fee or charge for his help.

Council unanimously approved the appointment of Bill Duckworth as commissioner of the Housing Authority.

Council president Burrely Loftin presided over the evening session, filling in for Mayor Eddie Maggard who was unable to attend due to illness.  In addition to Loftin, councilmen present were David Norman, Billy Long and Ric Engelhardt.

The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 22, 5 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.