Alva Review-Courier -

Freedom receives $50,000 grant for telemetric gas meters


January 16, 2020

Kathleen Lourde

Dawn Ware explains aspects of the town's $50,000 grant.

Freedom has received a $50,000 REAP grant to purchase new gas meters with a telemetry function. The town board discussed the issue at its meeting Jan. 8.

Present were Shad Brackin and Randy Rhodes; Rolando Galindo was absent. Dawn Ware sat in for Town Clerk Cindy Reed.

The telemetry function allows Stuart Page, who's in charge of maintenance for the town, to simply drive by a house and a gadget automatically reads the meter.

"So now our water and gas will be on the same system," said Brackin. The gas meters will be provided by the same company – UTS – that provided and installed the water meters.

The new meters will likely be installed in the coming months, but they haven't yet been purchased. They'll be up and running, the project completed, by October, said Ware. She noted that the installation of the water meters took about two weeks, and that was more complicated, she said.

Highway 50 Sidewalk Update

The board discussed the status of the Highway 50 sidewalk project.

Brackin said Pioneer didn't see any difficulties of the plan for the mailboxes, which would involve one or two turnouts each with a set of mailboxes. The mailbox issue needs to be settled before the sidewalk along Highway 50 can go in. He pulled up on his cell phone the initial designs submitted by the DOT, and showed them to Rhodes.

"Maybe we need to have the engineer meet with the postal service," Brackin said. "I don't think they're going to do the stamped drawings, or whatever, until everybody's kind of in agreement about where everything is. And will there be room for 45 boxes? (Each box is supposed to be 19 inches long.) "We can't do 45 boxes in that amount of space," he said.

"It would potentially require us to have two turnouts, which I think is doable but it's not the ideal thing," said Rhodes.

Brackin said he'd sent the DOT engineer "a very long email with several different scenarios of what could be done." Brackin then read from his phone the reply to his email: "'We need to make sure the carrier and customers can get into and out of the area safely. My understanding is there are approximately 45 boxes that will have to be placed, plus room for growth. Is there enough room for that? We need to know who is paying for the boxes and the construction of the platform that will hold all the boxes.'"

"If we can get a drawing from DOT, we can set up a meeting (with the Freedom postmaster) to say 'This is what we're looking at,'" said Rhodes.

"Nineteen inches seems an inordinate amount of room for a mailbox," said Brackin. "I guess that's why I think the post office is so important to talk to. I can send you the drawings that the DOT has already sent that shows both the north and south clusters, and you can talk to their engineer and see if they can add or delete anything. I hate to see this turn into a quagmire for mailboxes."

Brackin and Rhodes agreed that once Brackin had sent Rhodes the drawings and the contact information for the DOT engineer, Rhodes would talk with the postal service.

Purchase Orders

The board approved the purchase orders for the general fire and ambulance funds, although one item – a Comfort Zone jetter that was used on the main line and unplugged a manhole – Mayor Shad Brackin questioned.

Sewer jetters, also known as "hydro-jetters" or "water jetters," use high-pressure water jets to clear obstructions in municipal sewer systems and residential and commercial drain pipes.

"The reason I ask is we've got a jetter and it may not be big enough" for using on a sewer's main line, Brackin said.

Dawn Ware, who was sitting in for Town Clerk Cindy Reed, told Brackin what she remembered about the situation. "Some residents had some issues," she said, but she was not fully informed on the whole matter.

"I guess that's a question for the maintenance department," Brackin concluded.

General POs

OMAG (4th quarter general liability and auto insurance): $519.25

OMAG (4th quarter property insurance): $1,034

Martin Broadcasting: $72


Harper Sanitation (December 2019): $3,667.62

Comp Source (worker compensation premium): $280.62

Rural Water District (December 2019): $2,918

Blue Mark (December 2019): $4,912.57

Southern Star (November 2019): $957.92

UTS (water meter supplies): $1,510

APGA SIF (annual renewal): $19

Comfort Zone (jetter down main line and unplugged manhole): $535

Starr (sewer manhole entry ladder): $84.95

The board approved all the purchase orders for payment.

Other Board Business

The highway signs have all been received and will soon be put up, Ware told the board.

The board also reviewed and approved the 2020 Scope of Work. The only change on it from last year's, said Ware, was the dates of holidays. The board voted to accept the new scope of work.


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