(Posted March 30, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The city of London plans to buy a camera system for inspecting storm sewer and sanitary sewer lines. The cost is estimated at $100,000 to $120,000.
Such systems can be used to find and diagnose problems in the lines, such as damage or blockage due to tree roots. Currently, the city borrows camera systems and crews from Mount Sterling and West Jefferson on an as-needed basis or hires outside companies to do the work.
The purchase of a camera system will allow the city’s street department to do that work themselves and on their own schedule, according to Bill Long, street superintendent.
“It’s been talked about for years, but we’ve always just kicked it down the road,” Long said about the purchase.
City council member Greg Eades sponsored legislation calling for the appropriation of $60,000 from the general fund to help cover the cost of the system. Long proposed that the city’s remaining American Rescue Plan funds ($58,000) be used to cover the rest of the cost. Council approved the appropriation in a 6-0 vote at their March 24 meeting.
Long is researching camera system vendors. The plan is to choose a company approved by the state purchasing system so that the purchase does not need to go out to bid. This approach will save time, as the bidding process usually takes 60 to 90 days.
“We hope to have (the system) purchased in the next few weeks. The timing will depend on what’s in stock,” Long said.
Eades noted that having the system in-house doesn’t mean the city will instantly know where all the problem areas are. He said it will take time and manpower to map out the entire city.
Alley vacation request
David Mars, owner of Mars Property Services, is requesting vacation of the alley that sits between 62 S. Main St. and 64 S. Main St. The company is rehabilitating the building at 64 S. Main St.
Currently, the building houses six one-bedroom apartments on the top floor. The company plans to convert those into four two-bedroom units. Mars wants the alley vacated so that he can configure the exits from the apartments to land on the easement. He also wants to convert the alley area into a courtyard that can be used by the building and the adjoining property.
“We’re just looking to make it a nice space,” he said.
Mars noted that the project includes redoing the building’s facade and, later on, rehabilitating the commercial spaces on the bottom floor. He said another benefit of vacating the alley is that there would be room for four parking spaces.
Council member Josh Peters noted that David H. Jackman, owner of the abutting property, had not signed off on the request. Mars said Jackman is not in favor of the alley vacation at this time.
Peters recommended that the request go to the city’s public service committee for further discussion. The request will be on council’s agenda for two more readings. A public hearing will take place at the start of council’s May 5 meeting.
Tax incentive review
The Tax Incentive Review Council met on March 10 and determined that the following London companies are meeting the terms of their agreements under Community Reinvestment Area tax incentive requirements: Nissen Chemitec America, Triple Play Restaurants (Taco Bell), elitefts.com, Stanley Electric, and BST.
The committee is required by state law to regularly review the agreements for compliance. City council must sign off on the committee’s recommendations, which then go to the state. Council approved the committee’s recent review with a 6-0 vote at the March 24 meeting. The review was due to the state by March 31.
Getting rid of unneeded equipment
Council approved the Board of Public Utilities’ request to sell a 2005 trash truck that has sat unused for more than two years. When the city changed to new trash trucks, the 2005 vehicle was no longer usable.
The following committees will meet at city hall, 20 S. Walnut St.: board of zoning appeals, April 5, 5:30 p.m.; parks and recreation commission, April 5, 6 p.m.; public service committee, April 6, 1 p.m.; city council, April 7, 6:30 p.m.; finance committee, April 11, 4:30 p.m.; historic review board, April 12, 4 p.m.