City moves ahead on paving Moss Hill Drive, replacing streetlights with LEDs

Aldermen hear how soon work can start on Moss HIll Drive.
November 6th, 2020     Government & Politics

New Albany aldermen got updates on two major projects Tuesday: resurfacing Moss Hill Drive and replacing all city streetlights with LEDs

The city has about $750,000 available in the street budget and aldermen made recommendations for streets in their wards that need attention now.

Moss Hill was one of the highest priorities because of school and industrial traffic, and parts of it are in two different wards. Tuesday, a representative of Cook-Coggin Engineers reported on bids for two phases of the project.

The first, to pave the section from Denton Road to Davis Road, will cost $316,064. The other phase, from Bankhead Street to Denton, will cost $162,563 for a total of $478,625, close to the engineering estimate. The bid was from APAC, the asphalt paving company.

The project probably will not begin until March because the work cannot be done in colder weather. It is estimated to take 30 days or fewer.

Aldermen noted that other streets are on the list needing work and it was agreed that some of the shorter streets may be done immediately. Other streets can be ready for work in spring after Moss Hill is complete.

Light, gas and water department manager Bill Mattox gave an update on the lighting project, saying the documentation needs to be complete by Nov. 9.

“We hope to award it soon,” he said. “We will need to do the engineering study first.”

The project will replace every streetlight the city pays for.

The PATH Company in Jackson, Miss. has been consulting for the city. They say that converting the city street lights to LED technology will be safer and more efficient, saving the city as much as $1 million over a 20-year period.

The change will take about eight months.

Mattox added that in addition to saving money, the change is becoming more necessary because of the increasing difficulty in finding replacements for the present lighting fixtures.

The junior aldermen visited the board meeting Tuesday night to get an update on city business and provide a review on what they are doing. The junior aldermen are juniors and seniors who submit essays for blind judging. In some cases junior aldermen serve more than one year to build on their experience and share it with newer members.

They discuss various potential projects to help the city and undertake some of them. A current one is work on eventual renovation of B. F. Ford School.

“We thank you for being here and your willingness to serve,” acting mayor Johnny Anderson told them.

In department business, Mattox got approval to pay various requests relating to ongoing projects, including the new wastewater treatment plant, the Marshall County gas expansion and planned renovation of the future gas department office.

That office is eventually moving to the former auto sales building by the sale barn on East Bankhead, which is being renovated. Work to enclose the accompanying sale barn will be done later.

Mattox also received approval to advertise for a new truck used to clean clogged sewers and a bucket truck that will be used to clear department right of way. He said the sewer truck is about 40 years old.

Police Chief Chris Robertson got approval to purchase a 2019 Dodge Charger for his department at a cost of $21,100. It is in his budget, he said.

Building inspector and zoning administrator Eric Thomas said the planning and zoning board had met and approved a setback variance for 411 S. Camp.

He also got approval to extend the moratorium on new sewer installation until next July. The move came because the city is planning to adopt new zoning regulations soon and officials did not want to have sewer installations that might be acceptable now, but not acceptable under the new rules.

A minor change to the food truck ordinance was approved in a hearing Tuesday. The original ordinance said the trucks could not be kept in the city overnight, but the intent was to say the trucks could not be left at their operating locations on the street overnight. They can stay in the city.

Ward One Alderwoman Amy Livingston again brought up the issue of salaries for city employees and elected officials.

She said she would propose creating a committee comprising three people with financial and management expertise at the next board meeting. That committee would study the various salaries for New Albany as well as looking into what comparable other cities are doing. Alternately, she said the aldermen could look at each department separately to consider salaries, raises, bonuses and so forth.

Before adjourning, the aldermen went into executive session to discuss a real estate matter and litigation. No action from the meeting was reported.

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