Utility Authority tight on funds

Published 1:30 am Friday, July 4, 2008

A lack of utility payments from Picayune and Poplarville has the Pearl River County Utility Authority board facing a tight budget.

The utility Authority has about $47,534 in their account, but after paying $47,501 in bills, they will have about $30 left, said board member and treasurer Ernie Lovell.

Board president Steve Lawler said the largest payment will go to Southwest Water for repair work conducted on a number of maintenance jobs. The City of Picayune has not sent out utility bills for the month of June due to a software malfunction. A submission for payment of sewer treatment has been sent to the city from the board.

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“At this point in time I can not report that we will actually get anything,” Lawler said.

Picayune utility bills will be doubled for the month of July, having June included, and reportedly late fees will be waived due to the malfunction, Lawler said. A similar problem has kept the City of Poplarville from sending the board money for sewer treatment for the same month.

“It’s going to be imperative that we get our financial house in order and get a good working relationship with Picayune and Poplarville,” Lawler said.

Some of the repair work that Southwest Water conducted includes installing the bearing and rotors at the waste pump station in Poplarville, repair of sewer overflow problems in the city of Picayune, lift station and float problems, a leak at the Westchester subdivision well and establishing clorination at Westchester’s sewage treatment plant, said Mike Spitzer. Work still to be completed includes installing the manhole on Canal Street in Picayune and replacement of pump motors in Poplarville, Spitzer said.

Replacement of the man hole on East Canal will take place sometime in the next three to four weeks, but the board is waiting on funds, Lawler said.

Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace said the Poplarville water project is coming to an end. The water tank is painted and is holding water. A final inspection of the project by Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is expected at the end of the month. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be scheduled soon.

The board went into executive session to discuss hiring an administrative clerk. No motion was made on the matter since it is still in the discussion phase. An offer will be made to a prospective candidate and discussions will proceed from there, Lawler said.

In other business the board;

— Tabled a decision on a 16th section land lease contract until Wallace can formulate an accurate legal description of the property.

— Approved the July Docket.

The next meeting of the Utility Authority board is at 2 p.m. Aug. 6, in the Picayune city hall council chambers.