The City of Smithville apparently has no plans for annexation anytime soon, but Alderman Shawn Jacobs wants to make sure areas in the city that currently don't have access to city sewer, be given that opportunity first before any future annexation occurs.
Alderman Jacobs raised the issue during Monday night's city council meeting. "If I'm not mistaken, there are houses in the city limits that don't have sewer. And I know we also have some areas that have requested annexation. What is keeping us from running sewer to the houses that are currently in the city limits that don't have sewer?. I certainly think we should provide them sewer before we start thinking of annexing any other areas that might be requested or specified in our five year land use plan. There may be some grant money available," said Alderman Jacobs.
Mayor Jimmy Poss said he has explored grant possibilities for sewer projects. "I did put in for that very thing. If we get any (grant money) that's what I want to use it for. Somebody, and I've forgot who it was, wanted to know what we wanted and I told them then that we'd like to have some grant money to do a sewer rehab or sewer lines," he said
Mayor Poss said there has been interest in annexing some areas into the city on the west side of town but no plan has been presented. "I do know there was some that were talking about annexation on the west part of town but I haven't heard back on anything positive in that way," said Mayor Poss.
"I just think that before we even consider any kind of annexation, we should be providing sewer to everybody in the city limits," said Alderman Jacobs. "I just wondered by we weren't doing that already," he added.
"The only one I know of is one street (with no sewer) and part of it is in the city and part is in the county," said Mayor Poss.
"There's some houses on Riley Avenue that don't have sewer," said Alderman Tim Stribling.
"You're right. I know now where you're talking about," answered Mayor Poss. "We can look into it and see why (all areas aren't served)," he added.
"They (residents not served by sewer) are paying taxes just like everybody else and we ought to try to provide them (sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs.
"Yeah, but they don't pay sewer rates," answered Mayor Poss
"But if possible I think we should extend to them the opportunity (for sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs
"Let us look into that and we'll come back next time," concluded Mayor Poss.
In other business, the aldermen voted to hire James Gohs as a full time employee in the city's sanitation department, now that he has successfully completed his sixty day probationary period.
Meanwhile, Mayor Poss said letters have been mailed to members of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Directors asking for a face to face meeting on a new water contract. Mayor Poss said so far he has not heard back from any of them.
The city aldermen, two weeks ago at the suggestion of Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, voted to send DUD board members a letter asking for a meeting between the city and DUD to begin face to face discussions.
"DUD has sent us a written proposal/contract asking us what we would like for the contract to be for a long term purchase program of our water," said Hendrixson. "Rather than just go back and forth by letters, I think the board (mayor and aldermen) should have a sit down with their board to just get down to it and figure out what they (DUD) want and if they really want it. I would like permission from the board (aldermen) to send a letter to each of their (DUD) board members asking for a sit down (meeting) to hopefully negotiate a long term contract," he said.
The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.00 per thousand gallons and under terms of the contract, the rate increases by five cents per thousand in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires in 2014.
Mayor Poss mentioned that the city has erected the new Christmas lights around downtown."We've heard some good comments. We're proud of them. Maybe we can add to them next year. This is a start," he said.