Legacy Information: TOWN OF GURLEY (03/24/2005)
|For more information contact:||P.O. BOX 128 GURLEY, ALABAMA 35748||Tel: (256) 776-3313 - Fax: (256) 776-0871|
My Fellow Citizens,
I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on two very important issues for the Town of Gurley; our sewer problems and our Anti-Litter Ordinance 270-R1.
First, let me update each of you on our sewer projects and plans. As most of you already know, Gurley is presently under a Consent Order (an agreement with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management that states Gurley acknowledges a problem with our sewer and that we will correct all major issues with our sewer system by a certain date). That agreement was executed and signed on behalf of the people of Gurley by Mayor Roger Hornbuckle in August of 2002 and it declared that the Town of Gurley would fix its sewer problems by August 2005.
Although some planning had occurred, substantial planning, and most importantly funding and correction of the problem did not. This means that we must do 2.5 years worth of work in 6 months. This cannot and will not be accomplished. Under normal rules and regulations, Gurley will be subject in August 2005 to daily fines and assessments, not only from ADEM but also from the EPA for sewer operation violations.
The Town has taken steps forward to address many of these issues and has made every effort to minimize the potential impacts. We now have a project that will address two of our major violations, ground water in our collection system and treatment of solids at the sewer plant. Currently, we have a permit from ADEM to treat 140,000 gallons a day. During most days, we are trying to treat twice that amount and on rain events, that volume can go as high as 400,000 gallons. Generally, this means we have holes in our collection system and we must find and patch them. Most of these holes are believed to be in the service lines from our homes to the main line. This project will address 320+ service lines for correction. The other part of the project will involve the building of an additional treatment plant and require us to bring our old plant back on line. Our present plant has not been in operation for many years. Once these two plants are operational, they will allow us to effectively treat 200,000 Gal/Day and 400,000 at peak/day.
In meeting with various officials from ADEM, the EPA, engineers and others over the last few months, the Town has agreed to bring the old plant back on line early. It is currently operating on the site today. I feel that this is one major step in the right direction and ADEM has acknowledged this effort. Although the entire chlorination system had to be rebuilt, the estimated costs for this effort was more than $50,000 but the town did all the installation and rebuilding work ourselves and with some luck and very experienced employees from the Public Works Department we were able to save around $30,000.
Funding the entire project will be take more than 2 million dollars. As discussed above, our choices are very few. However, I have applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are currently reviewing how much the town can receive but have indicated to us that we will be getting some funding. If the normal process works, Gurley will receive 45% of the total cost of the project. In addition, I have also applied for an appropriation from Congress for $500,000 through Rep. Bud Cramers office. In the end, the law requires that the citizens of the town bare a portion of the overall cost through higher sewer bills. At this time, I cannot know what that increase will be but there will be an increase and soon.
Let me assure you that the Council and I are doing everything possible to ensure that cost are minimal, that our needs are met and that we meet our obligations to the State of Alabama and the EPA. When the grant is approved, the town will hold Public Hearings on this project and its cost, and you will get the opportunity to voice your concerns and issues through that process.
Moving on, many of you have heard of Ord. 270-R1 commonly known as the Anti-Litter Law in Gurley . This law was passed early in 2001. It is a very common law for towns and cities that requires businesses and property owners inside the town limits to meet minimal standards around junk, litter, inoperable vehicles, lawn maintenance, etc.
One of the difficulties in administering this kind of law, especially in a small town, is equal and fair enforcement for everyone. There can be no favorites. It is the intentions of the Council and the Office of the Mayor to ensure that process meets your expectations.
There are many reasons why a town should strive to be a clear of junk, litter, inoperable autos etc. For example, it enhances the overall appeal of our Town, for us, our friends and our future citizens and business. It protects and supports the value of your property as well as that of your neighbors. It generates community pride and civic involvement. It discourages pest i.e. mosquitoes and skunks and helps create and maintain a safe environment for our children and pets.
I urge everyone to take a look around your own property and determine what can be discarded and removed from your yards. The Town will waive for the next thirty days until the 23rd of April, any extra residential handling fees (except for tires with rims). All items should be separated into the following catergories: Tires (without rims), lawn and trees, appliances, scrap metal etc. Tires with rims will be picked up, however, a $6.00 charge per tire will be levied to remove the rim.
The Town has already issued several non-conformance letters. I want to personally thank those of you who complied with the request. I want to thank those who called into Town Hall and worked out solutions to the concerns. The goal is not to harass people or property owners but to create and maintain a community standard which will allow all of us to live and work together within the framework of pride and safety in our town. The important thing to remember is that we communicate with each other to reach solutions that help us reach our goals.
I realize that 270-R1 may be difficult for some of us to adjust to but it protects our homes, our families, our children and our town. 270-R1 is the law of the land in Gurley and my constitutional responsibility as your Mayor is to enforce that law fairly and equally to all.
I pray for your continued support for the Council and the Mayor as we move through these difficult issues toward a better Gurley. The work is hard but rewarding and Gurley is worth the effort from all of us. I am reminded of Harriet Beecher Stowes reflections about common sense. Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done. I cannot imagine a better way to govern.
God Bless us all and the Town of Gurley,
Stan Simpson, Mayor
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For more information concerning this subject contact:
P.O. BOX 128
GURLEY, ALABAMA 35748
FAX (256) 776-0871
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