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Council changes repair policy

Residents of Paris no longer face the expense of cutting into and repairing a city street in order to repair a sewer line.

That’s because on Monday June 3, the Paris City Council passed an ordinance mandating that street work done as part of a sewer line repair will be done by city employees at no charge to residents. The ordinance passed 6-0. It included an emergency clause, which means it went into effect immediately.

Also at the meeting, a proposed contract to sell water to Scranton was introduced and read once.

Under terms of the old sewer line repair policy, the property owner had to pay for the repair from the residence to the connection with the sewer main, even if the problem is under a city street. In that case, the property owner had to post a $250 bond, hire someone to repair the line and someone to dig up the street and repair it.

“I had a resident ask me to look into the policy,” Rogers said in January, shortly before the new policy was brought up before the City Council. “I’ve had several people talk to me about it. The concern is about the cost to repair lines under our streets.

“It’s extremely costly,” Rogers said at the time. “It could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. Most of our residents, myself included, don’t have that amount of money on hand.”

After looking into the matter, Rogers said he found out that some cities have a policy similar to Paris, but others dig up and repair the streets themselves.

“It’s evolving to where the city repairs it if it’s under a city street,” Rogers said at the time. “We need to control what happens to our city streets.”

At the its May meeting, the Scranton City Council unanimously approved a proposed contract to purchase a minimum of 90 million gallons of water a year from Paris at a cost of $166,500 per year when the present water purchase agreement between the two cities ends in 2014, according to Rogers.

Under terms of the contract proposal, Scranton will pay $1.85 for each thousand gallons purchased.

Scranton plans to purchase the bulk of its water from Clarksville after the existing contract with Paris expires.

After 2014, if the proposed contract is approved by the Paris City Council, Paris will become a supplemental supplier to Scranton, Rogers said.

“This completes two and a half years of work to retain some of the money we were going to lose if Scranton bought all their water from Clarksville,” Rogers said. “When I took office, we were looking at losing, potentially, $393,000 a year, which is over half our water department’s budget.”

Rogers said selling water to Scranton, coupled with selling additional water to the Greasy Valley Water Users Association and assuming control of the Carbon City Water Users Association, means the city’s water system will bring in $300,000 from outside users, cutting the loss to $93,000 annually.

In addition, Rogers said next year, the city will be contractually obligated to sell about 235 million gallons a year to outside users, compared to 400 million gallons a year under existing contracts.

“That means we can say goodbye to the days of water conservation, once and for all,” Rogers said.

Periods of water conservation in Paris have become common over the last seven summers. Last year, conservation wasn in place for seven months. Rogers said language will be placed in the proposed contract to protect the water supply to residents of Paris.

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