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Rogers says city is progressing

Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers delivered the annual State of the City report to the City Council when it met on Monday, March 3.

“The state of the city is good and we’re progressing,” Rogers said.

By progressing, Rogers said he was pointing to the passage of a one percent sales tax last year. Proceeds from the tax are earmarked for improvements in water and sewer lines and expansion of the city’s water production plant.

“That’s new infrastructure work we haven’t been able to afford in the past,” Rogers said. “Work on projects will begin this year. We’re making progress, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Rogers also delivered reports from city department heads.

Here are those reports:

Water and waste water departments: In 2013 the water plant made 756,379,000 gallons of water. We sold 522,305,700 gallons for $852,114.47, with 53 percent sold to outside users. The city lake got six feet below full during the summer. The city did not have to ask U.S. Forest Service to give us water from Cove Lake this year.

The wastewater plant treated 234,440,490 gallons of wastewater. Paris got 51.57 inches of rain, which is near normal rain fall. Employees did numerous maintenance tasks on equipment and grounds up keep.

The water department fixed 295 water leaks from service lines to 12-inch mains. The department set 11 new meters, and redid 10 old meter sets. There were 302 locate requests. The department unstopped 209 sewer mains and answered 519 service calls. Three acres of land was purchased for a water plant expansion.

Electric department: The department bought 51,312,488 kilowatt hours of electricity at a cost of $2,984,404.45. The average fuel cost adjustment was .037 cents per kwh. The department changed out or added 17 new poles to the system. The department changed or added 18 new transformers to our system, did 28 service upgrades, spent 38 days on right of way maintenance and handled 472 customer assist work orders.

This year, in addition to any new residential business services, the department plans on changing out poles and transformers as needed. There are also plans to have our older reclosers in our substation serviced. The department will be able to take them out and send them in without any interruption of service.

Street department: Unusual weather patterns created a milder than normal growing season and vegetation thrived throughout the spring, summer and early fall. This resulted in a need to mow, trim and do weed control on a weekly basis, even through the mid-summer when vegetation normally becomes dormant.

The street department, as well as the parks department, struggled to keep up with maintaining all the city properties, parks,playgrounds and right of ways. Brush and limb chipping became a problem with us because of not having enough workers to keep up with the demand. Two street department employees have retired within the past couple of years and we have not been allowed to replace them. This has created a much heavier work load on current employees.

Another contributing factor is that the Wood Street Park has previously been cut for hay by local farmers, saving us much time and expenses. We now are required to keep all of the frontage, soccer fields, areas around the play grounds, restrooms, pavilion and the east end near Martin Street mowed and trimmed weekly. We also began spraying, mowing and trimming the Coal Miners Memorial grounds each week. This area had previously been bush hogged periodically. We were required on several occasions to move boulders, dirt, aggregate materials, dig ditches, and set landscape timbers at the memorial. All of which created more work to accomplish with less employees than in previous years.

Equipment malfunctions occurred more than usual and a mowing machine needs to be replaced. We need to be mowing, rather than repairing broken down equipment, when weather permits.

The chipper truck that was purchased has been out of service for repairs more than it has been in service. It is currently in a local repair shop with a failed transmission.

We desperately need reliable equipment to work with and enough employees to keep up with the work demand. Given the proper resources we can make Paris better.

Parks department: The parks department worked with the street department as they struggled to maintain the baseball fields, soccer fields and all the parks and playgrounds. This involves not only the spraying of pesticides, weekly mowing and trimming, but also many hours each day of baseball season chalking off the infield play area on all three fields used by the Boys and Girls Club. We also set up goals and marked off soccer fields during the season.

This department’s equipment is in good condition at the present time.

Sanitation department: Two city wide clean ups were completed in April and September. An electronics waste recycling event was conducted in April through the combined efforts of the city and the West River Valley Regional Solid Waste Management District.

We continue to provide curbside household solid waste collection each week and operate the solid waste transfer station as a means for people in north Logan County to properly dispose of their solid waste, recyclable metals appliances and construction and demolition materials.

The transfer station is open to the public each Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Transfer Station is not permitted to accept waste from outside of north Logan County or from commercial haulers.

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