Public Works ready for winter roads, monitoring water supply & damaged poles

by Geoff Fox

Town officials received an update on where things stand with Public Works projects since November.

Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr. told town officials the town’s plows and trucks are ready for the upcoming winter weather should the ice and snow come.

“Hopefully we don’t get any snow, but if we do, we’re more prepared this year than we have been in a long time,” he said.

Well & water leaks

The town’s only working well went down on Thanksgiving Day with Lanehart and Mayor Tim Smith there.

Lanehart said Ginns Pump Service came and fixed the pump with everyone at the site from morning until about midnight.

He added there has been a hold up on getting the second well online as a part has been ordered and it was back ordered.

While January 26, 2022, is the target delivery date.

Councilwoman Misty Cubbage wondered if it was stuck on a ship with the current supply chain issues facing the country.

Lanehart said as soon as the part comes in, it’s matter of a few minutes to install.

“Nobody in the country had [the part],” he said.

Smith said the hold up on the Thanksgiving issue was the town didn’t have a spare pump. The previous spare pump had been used on an earlier incident.

Lanehart also told his fellow town officials the town’s water usage has been higher than normal recently.

He chalks it up to leaks in the system crews haven’t found yet.

The water softener the town uses has also gone up as well.

Usually it is about three loads a year, but by the end of the year, the town will have been six loads.

“Just goes to show how much we’re losing,” he said about the number of leaks and water loss town crews haven’t found yet.

One load of salt costs $3,165 and the town has already spent $6,330 on the salt.

Smith said if someone sees a wet spot somewhere and it hasn’t rained in a while, let the town know.

“That’s about the only way you can really get a handle on these leaks is if we keep our eyes open and notice spots that are normally will be dry and it hasn’t rained and all of a sudden you see water,” Smith said.

Councilman David Kerns brought up a leak that recently came up across from AC&T where a conduit took the water down the hill and to a telephone pole. Water started bubbling out of the hill.

“You wouldn’t have seen it because you saw the water down there but you didn’t see it on the street,” he said.

Who will fix up poles?

Smith also brought up the green light poles along Main Street during the Mayor and Council report.

The poles currently belong to Potomac Edison, however Smith said he’d be willing to take them under the town’s ownership after the poles have started to get into bad shape.

Ownership and maintenance of green light poles like this have been the subject of Hancock council discussion.
photo by Geoff Fox

Because they belong to Potomac Edison, the town can’t do any repairs to the poles.

In talking to the person who was instrumental in getting the poles installed when doing the streetscape project, Smith found out there are LED upgrades that are quick replace bulbs.

The mayor said people have gotten tag numbers for the poles and told the town about the lights being out or damage on the poles.

He noted it’s been months since these issues have been called in to Potomac Edison, however there hasn’t been any response from the electric company.

“One got hit by BuddyLou’s. Now it’s cracked, it’s leaning clear over,” Smith said. “We’ve called that one in. Nothing.”

Smith said he told Potomac Edison and asked if they aren’t going to maintain the poles and make Main Street look nice, give ownership to the town. If not, he has a plan to remove them and the town would do what they need to do to make the Main Street area better.

All the town asks Potomac Edison to do is to put a simple coat of paint on the poles and clean the globes around the lights.

Smith said the person he talked to told him they don’t think there’d be a problem in transferring ownership.

“I’m waiting on a call back from Potomac Edison’s people to tell us,” Smith said.