Splash Pad

Work continues on the new splash pad last week, with the assembly of slides and platforms for the structure. The splash pad is tentatively slated to be complete by Nov. 15.   Ron Mayes / Pulaski Citizen

After Alderman Hardin Franklin requested for the Pulaski Board of Mayor and Aldermen to discuss possibilities for city growth, the city council did just that during last week’s work session.

Franklin asked what options the city has to expand its limits and what it would take to get water and sewer to areas that are currently not being served.

“You cannot force annex right now in the state of Tennessee on anyone that doesn’t want to come into your city if their property is residential or agricultural,” City Attorney Andy Hoover said. “Commercial is another situation. Industrial is another situation. In our situation, we don’t have a lot of commercial outside city limits that is close enough to annex and we certainly don’t have any industrial.

“They usually iron that out before they come in,” Hoover added. “They have to have sewer for the most part.”

The largest obstacle is “convincing people they want to come into the city if they have residential now or agricultural that could become residential” and “the expense,” he said.

Hoover said the city would have to be “rather aggressive in providing our city services” and would have to have the services to those properties within three years with some rare exceptions being five.

“Even if somebody requests to come in, they have to be within our current growth and annexation boundary to come in,” City Administrator Terry Harrison said. “If not, the county has to call their broken annexation committee back into session and they have to recommend, and the full commission has to extend that boundary.

“Our biggest impediment is water,” Harrison said, adding that the customers would need six-inch lines with hydrants for fire protection.

Harrison said he had spoken with someone from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) in the Spring Hill area who had said those wanting to come into that area have to cover the expenses for getting the lines to their property if they want to come in.

You also have to consider the expenses of paving roads, etc. to annexed residents as that would then be the responsibility of the city, Harrison said.

Alderman Randy Massey asked what it would require for the annexation of properties.

They would have to submit a written petition, it would have to go before the planning commission for a recommendation, then zoning and plan of service, Harrison said.

When considering such annexations, Harrison said if taxes for an area only bring $1,000 a year into the general government and it will cost $30,000 to get water to them… “that’s the thing you all as a board need to look at.”

“That starts to not make good business sense,” Mayor Pat Ford said.

“Now if people who have these 20 acres or 40, they request to come in and they run water and sewer up there and spend that,” Harrison said. “Then it makes sense.”

If it is only going to five people, then it may require a rate increase to the rest of the city to pay for the five people, he added.

“As you all know, water and sewer does not make money,” Harrison said. “We try to just hold our head above water and sewer every year. It’s not a money-making business.”

Franklin asked how other areas were able to do it and several answered that the developers are the ones who are taking care of those expenses.

Alderman Jerry Bryant said the depreciation also has to be considered as to not bankrupt the system.

“You would have to raise everybody’s rates,” Bryant said.

“Somewhere you have to raise taxes to cover your expenses,” Franklin said.

“When you talk about water and sewer, you aren’t talking about taxes you are talking about user fees,” Harrison said, adding that you must have sewer customers to offset the cost of depreciation and upkeep.

Harrison said some people may want their property to be annexed into the city but not want sewer and going down the road “one person may be in and the next person out.”

“It’s more difficult than just running the sewer line out there and everything growing,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he is getting calls on a daily basis asking him about what they [the inquirers] need to do, not asking what the city is going to do to help them out.

“So private enterprise is going to drive it,” Bryant said.

“Exactly, I mean that’s what has to drive it because they will come in with the plans to expand,” Alderman Ricky Keith said.

It was discussed that there are properties within city limits that are not being utilized.

“We’ve got some properties that need to be repurposed and redeveloped,” Keith added.

Alderman Pat Miles said with growth the traffic will need to be considered as well.

“All the roads are built to specs,” Harrison said. “If there is a subdivision, there are subdivision regulations in there that have the street designs and turning radius.

“All that is designed according to specifications.”

North End Flooding

Some members of the Flood Committee for the NAACP of Giles County came to the work session to request an update on the flooding on the north end of town.

The committee had come in May to ask what could be done.

Harrison said based on their request he contacted MTAS, a division of the University of Tennessee, and they sent a consultant who was an engineer out of Jackson, Tenn.

Several of the board went to the meeting with him and were informed that these issues were not particular to the city or even the state, Harrison said, adding that “there have been very heavy rainfalls and we are also seeing them earlier in the year.”

Harrison said the consultant told them the city cannot legally do work on private property, and with Pleasant Run Creek being in a floodplain, you really cannot do anything about it when it gets out of its banks.

“What I got out of it was there is not a whole lot we can do about it as a city,” Harrison said. “We can’t go on private property.”

He said this information was brought back to the board after receiving it.

Mayor Pat Ford said officials have also talked with some homeowners about what can be done.

If the drains are getting full of mowed grass or trash, it is going to back up when the drains get full, he said.

“A lot of it [water] comes from privately owned properties that are not either maintained or have the ability to move the water through or whatever,” Ford said.

Another member of the flood committee said maybe there needs to be a campaign or community effort if there is nothing else that can be done.

“These are conversations that we can continue to have and need to continue to have,” Ford said, adding that he has consulted with Jeremy Holley, the floodplain administrator of the county.

“He’s [Holley] talking with FEMA and TEMA and the federal and state level to kind of talk to them about some things that we can do,” Ford said. “And I’ve talked to some of those folks as well just straight to the state about some things that we can do to figure out what other communities are doing. These are not just issues that Pulaski deals with. It’s all over the southeast because of the amount of rain we have gotten.”

Harrison said the homeowners or homeowner association may need to look into some “waterproofing and damp proofing methodologies” to keep the water from causing damage to the home.

Proper drainage away from the house and sump pumps were some of the suggestions Harrison listed.

Harrison said homeowners need to be aware they are responsible for the water coming off of their properties.

“If you turn it on your neighbor and cause damage, then your neighbor can sue you,” he said.

Jenny Brown, a resident of Meadowbrook who has lived there for 43 years, said there are eight or nine wet weather springs in that area and “that is why we are having so much trouble.”

“I guess we can’t help it because it is a natural thing,” Brown said. “We are in this holler back there and all the rain is coming down off of the hills there and coming down into the little creek there which is not able to carry all that water so naturally it is going to deposit it into people’s yards… and there are too many houses down there.”

“It’s an act of God,” Brown said. “You can’t change that. I don’t know what you could do.”

“That’s a big part of what we deal with,” Ford said.

When asked if the development had contributed to the flooding, Harrison said that it does increase the runoff and takes away some of the land that would absorb the water.

Brown said she has gotten flood insurance to “take care of yourself,” adding that she was appreciative for what had been done.

“If there is an issue that the city’s street department, water and sewer department, police department, fire department can help, call my office,” Harrison said. “If there is something we can do [legally] to help, we are going to do it. That’s what we get paid to do.”

In other business during its Nov. 1 work session, the city council:

• Heard the tentative completion date for the splash pad at the Pulaski Recreation Center is Nov. 15.

Ford said the contractor had said he is “more concerned with a good product than a timeframe.”

As for liquidated damages, Ford said, “They are paying us $500 a day for every day they are continuing to work.”

• The dog park on Rhodes Street has yet to receive all its equipment including the pickup bags and reciprocals.

The Pulaski Board of Mayor and Aldermen next meets at city hall in work session Monday, Nov. 15, at 4:30 p.m.

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