City officials have asked Smithville's engineering firm, the J.R. Wauford Company, to come up with estimates on what it could cost to make city sewer available to a handful of places in town that don't have access to the service.
Alderman Shawn Jacobs raised the issue at the city council meeting on November 19. Public Works Director Kevin Robinson updated the mayor and aldermen Monday night. "I've been in contact with Melissa at JR Wauford Engineering about the sewer (unserved areas) in town. She came up Friday and we rode around to every one of the spots and she is supposed to let me know and as soon as she does I'll let the board know what she found out and what its going to cost," said Robinson.
Alderman Jacobs asked if Robinson could find out more about some new technology available that might be an alternative to pumping stations, if needed to reach those unserved areas. "In addition to pumping stations, there's some new technology out there that don't require pumping stations. There's a couple of alternatives being used besides that so if these figures come back really expensive we might ask her to look at some of the alternatives to see what that would cost us as well. Of course, we're not looking at making any kind of decision right away anyway but just for planning purposes it would be good to know and see what the new technology offers and if the prices might be coming down on it in the future," said Alderman Jacobs.
Meanwhile, Todd Bowman, water plant supervisor reported to the mayor and aldermen Monday night that for both the months of October and November, the city recorded a 25% water loss. He also reported that water plant employee Shawn Thomas has passed his grade III exam and is now a certified plant operator. "He is certified in sewer and water plant operation," said Bowman. "We now have three licensed operators at the plant. Another one (employee) still there without a license plans on going in May to try and get his license," said Bowman.
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reported that the department has received a new K-9 vehicle. "It will soon be outfitted completely with a cage and everything. It really looks good and we're proud of it. The officers are doing a good job and we want to get our K-9 program going further than what it is," said Chief Caplinger.
"We also have two new certified meth officers now and we're real proud of that," said Chief Caplinger. "We want to try and get as many (certified meth officers) as we can to help curb the drug problem," he said. "Our in-service training is starting up again this year, probably next month through the end of March. We finished up a grant today. We'll be taking the money out to supply us with bullet proof vests that we ordered. Those should be coming in a few days. The grant will pay for all the vests except for just a few dollars," said Chief Caplinger.
Alderman Gayla Hendrix commended Chief Caplinger and others on establishing a crime stoppers program. In response, the chief said the public is already responding to it. "I really appreciate the people we have on our crime stoppers (board). There's ten people, five from the city and five from the business community. We're getting a lot of good (public) response from crime stoppers. We're getting calls and tips coming in and we're investigating several of them right now. It looks like the program is going to pay off. Its going to work real well. It looks like it will fund itself with the help of the board we have. I think its going to be real good," said Chief Caplinger
"I also want to thank everyone who was part of our Christmas get together (party) for the (needy) children (December 21). This room (community room of city hall), I don't think you could have put another person in it," said Chief Caplinger. "The room was full. Everyone was real appreciative. We had several businesses who stepped forward and wanted to help and did an outstanding job. We hope to continue that (Christmas event) as well as the Halloween event. That's one of the things the police department wants to do is stay involved with the community. I appreciate the support of the board helping us do that," he said.
Fire Chief Charlie Parker updated the mayor and aldermen on recent fire department activities. "Highlights of our last quarter, we had a total of 32 incidents. We had 54 hours of working and 142 man hours of training in the last quarter. Also during the last quarter, the month of October was our fire prevention month, " said Chief Parker. "We held fire prevention activities at the Smithville Methodist Day School, the Church of Christ Day School, Smithville Elementary, LBJ & C Head Start, Rainbow Play School, and at DeKalb Middle School. We also had several boy scout and girl scout groups that came through so we really pushed fire prevention in the month of October. My deputy chief, Hoyte Hale heads that up. We solicit (donations) from several businesses that contribute to the fire prevention materials. We try to provide at least a piece of literature, stickers, or something for every kid through fifth grade. They get coloring books or something depending upon age appropriate. We've had a tremendous response from parents. I want to thank Hoyte for doing this and the other firefighters who helped do some of the demonstrations," he said. "Currently, we are working on our SOG's for the fire department, looking to update our guidelines and procedures. We'll have our officer elections the first part of February and then we'll come back to the board for your approval (of officers). We also have our firefighter appreciation dinner January 19. We've had a very big start with the first of the year. I think we're up to twenty calls already starting the new year," said Chief Parker.