By Adam Pack
At their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Apr. 14, the Alderson Town Council discussed a necessary water rate increase for municipal water customers, expanding the town’s police department, flood abatement, and other agenda items.
After hearing from Dereck Johnson of Thrasher Consulting, the Alderson Town council announced that citizens will be paying roughly $4 more on their water bills immediately, and the rate will increase a further $6 at a later date. These numbers reflect paying for the first and second phases.
“The first rate we’ve quoted here is to pay for payroll, electricity, and other logistic issues,” explained Copenhaver. “The second pay rate increase is for the actual construction and building costs, materials and so on.” This work includes dozens of projects, but those most notable include moving the water plant above the flood zone, replacing old fire hydrants, extending the services of the Public Service Departments, and setting up Emergency Access to a non-Greenbrier River water system via Muddy Creek. The total rate increase proposed will be $10 dollars, which will take the current minimum payment to slightly over $26. That motion passed, and citizens should expect to see the first-rate increase of $4 very soon, with the $6 increase coming later.
In law enforcement news, Copenhaver announced that the town had hired two new police officers. Effective May 1, both of those officers will be sworn in and operational. This comes after the town sold the unused K9 squad vehicle.
“The vehicle was hard to maintain, and as the only officer trained to handle K9s has moved on, we didn’t see any reason not to liquidate that vehicle,” Copenhaver said. As such, the town is down one vehicle and up two officers. Therefore, the town has to purchase two vehicles and firearms. Mayor Copenhaver relayed that the vehicles had been selected- two used police cruisers being sold by the Mabscott Police Department. The vehicles sparked some debate, as they both have upwards of 100,000 miles, and will only cost the town $7,000 a piece. This cost will be offset by a grant covering 50 percent of the expenses, so the town will only be responsible for paying $3,500 for each vehicle. Despite some murmurings against the purchase, the reassurance by Copenhaver that “they’re good vehicles, we think they’re worthwhile” won over the members of the council and the purchases of both vehicles, and four Glock 19 handguns as well as ammunition, was approved by the council.
In other news, the Monroe County side of Alderson will be receiving funds from the Monroe County Commission for flood abatement. The tentative date for the mobilization of those funds is June 1.
Alderson City Park will be receiving a handi-capable swing, as well. The swing will have seating for children with mobility impairments, as well as one swing which can safely accommodate a wheelchair. The swing will also include able-bodied swing seating next to it. The project may take some time, as construction must align with ADA requirements and be far more close to perfectly level than normal swing sets. The council hopes that the swing will be up and ready for use by this summer.
Also this summer, the Alderson VFW Chapter will be rededicating the stone memorial slabs at Memorial Field. The field, which houses stone slabs commemorating local men who were killed in action in The First World War, The Second World War, Korea, and Vietnam. The ceremony will be conducted in accordance with all relevant guidelines, including the playing of “Taps.”