The Old Fort Board of Aldermen talked about new footbridges for Mill Creek during their regular meeting Monday.
The Old Fort aldermen held their meeting for January at the Town Hall. Mayor Rick Hensley opened the meeting. He wanted to express the thoughts for all the people who have the COVID-19 virus and their families that have been impacted from it by losing their jobs as a result.
He also thanked the Old Fort Lighting Committee and the town’s Maintenance Department on a job well done in putting up the Christmas lights. Town officials said it was a real struggle this year with such a short staff.
The aldermen discussed the new footbridges over Mill Creek that would connect the museum with the Old Fort branch library. The previous footbridges were damaged by rising flood waters
The mayor gave an update on the new bridges. He said hopefully they will be installed by the next meeting. Hensley said he will speak with Bridge Brothers, a company that builds footbridges, about some problems that they have arisen with the concrete, according to town officials.
The mayor also gave an update on the progress with the secondary water source for Andrews Geyser. With some funding coming from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the town has to meet environmental requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it is working with stream waters. Hensley is still in contact with Isothermal Planning and Development Commission and the Asheville engineering firm of WithersRavenel looking for some solutions to get this project started.
The mayor said he has spoken to Ron Sneed, who is attorney for the owner of Holly Ridge Development, about getting water service for the development. Sneed is drawing up a contract between the development’s owner, Dan Reese, and the town on transferring ownership to Old Fort. The aldermen agreed to have the town attorney review the papers before accepting the contract. The town of Old Fort is only required to supply water service to the six residences already in the development, according to town officials.
The aldermen talked about the cost of the garbage collection. The costs are outweighing the revenue for the service. Alderman Jamie Grindstaff made a motion to increase the charges for the commercial garbage collection. The charges for Dumpster collection will be $30 for small, $35 for medium and $40 for a large for each pickup. All commercial garbage collection for businesses without Dumpsters will be $40 a month flat fee. Aldermen Melvin Lytle seconded this motion and it was approved in a 4-1 vote with Alderman Wayne Stafford voting against.
Alderman Andrew Carlton made a motion to charge a flat fee of $20 per pickup load for brush and debris pickup. No pickups will be for tree or debris removal from someone hired to remove or trim trees in town limits. Grindstaff seconded this motion and it was approved in a 4-1 vote with Stafford voting against.
Lytle informed the board that the town’s garbage truck is getting to be unrepairable. It broke down during December and it had to be towed. The garbage compactor is almost 30 years old and the bottom is rusted out. Alderman Jerome Effler made a motion to get bids for a new garbage truck. Alderman Andrew Carlton seconded this motion and it was approved unanimously, according to town officials.