Fire hydrant problems continue to be discussed in Valley Falls
by Clarke Davis
Another discussion about fire hydrants topped the Valley Falls City Council agenda June 20. Visitors included Fire District 11 board Chairman Jason Nellis, member Bill Klenklen and Fire Chief John Gordon.
They wanted an update on the progress toward getting a fire hydrant in the industrial tract on the south edge of the city. Administrator Chris Channell told them he was waiting on the final plans for the Dollar General Store, expecting the builders to make arrangements for a hydrant.
Channell is pretty sure the Dollar General will be built. Contractor bids were due a week ago and if the company found them to be satisfactory he’s assuming ground will be broken soon. The city has not issued a building permit as yet, but Channell said that will be the contractor’s job once bids are approved.
The discussion that ensued involved the best location for a hydrant to gain the most water pressure and the restrictions on placement because of the highway right of way. Complaints were also expressed about several of the city’s older hydrants that require a “cheater” bar to open them.
Mayor Charles Stutesman asked Utilities Superintendent Daryl Courter to look into finding a company that will rebuild or repair them.
The hydrants are used mainly for filling tankers and to meet the ISO fire ratings for insurance purposes. It was noted that the fire department’s pumpers have a capacity greater than the city water lines can produce. On major fires, the department depends on tankers and mutal aid hauling water from dry hydrants located at a couple of ponds in the city.
Two properties said to be in violation of the city’s health and environmental codes were reported to the council with action being taken against the owners. Both houses are unoccupied.
One letter is going to James and Theresa Montgomery concerning the property at 106 Sycamore citing trash and vegetative growth along with concerns about the structure itself. The second letter is going to Marjorie Reberry concerning the property at 502 Sycamore. Vegetative growth is a concern here along with an overdue water bill.
The mayor began the meeting with a moment of silence out of respect for Kay Lassiter, the township librarian whose funeral was that morning.
“I want to recognize the many contributions she made to this community, especially to the children,” Stutesman said.
With July 4 falling on Wednesday, the July council meetings will be held the 11th and 18th.
Council members Mike Hahn and Jo Tichenor were absent.
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