Rusty pipes, garbage billing top agenda for CKWSD

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By Kellie Parkin

Rusty pipes and city garbage collection were the top items of discussion Monday night at the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District monthly meeting.

CRA Director Greg Lang presented the CKWSD Board with a sample of 80-year-old pipe found last month under historic 2nd Street and offered possible solutions to address the issue.

Old blue prints provided by the Historical Society show that the pipes throughout the downtown commercial and residential area were most likely installed in 1929. The galvanized pipe, now crumbling and rust-worn, has long outlived its estimated lifetime of 50 years.

Lang gave the Board three suggested options: revise the current Phase II scope of work to only focus on the highest priorities, expand Phase II to include replacement of the downtown and Kiss-me-Quick area services in addition to other work, or create a Phase III to encompass the new needs.

Also a priority, Lang said, should be the installation of a new eight-inch water main from the airport area to the Jernigan Ave. area, which would provide a full loop in the water system.

“A loop means increased water flows and water quality,” said Jack Hotaling, CKWSD Manager. “It means you don’t have dead ends and you don’t have bacteria buildup.”

A USDA loan is available to fund the estimated additional $2 million of work needed. Twenty-five to 30 percent of the loan would be in the form of a grant, and the rest would be at 4.125 percent interest.

The Board decided to approve the updated priorities and wait to make a decision on the USDA loan. Lang will take the same presentation to the CRA Board on Jan. 27 for further discussion.

In other business, the Board again tabled the City’s request that the district assume garbage billing responsibility. The city is offering to pay any startup cost associated with the new arrangement as well as pay the district a percentage of the fees collected. Complaints and outstanding debt would continue to be handled by the city.

Thelma McCain voiced her adamant disapproval of the idea. “This is a water district,” she said. “We are not in the garbage business.”

Other Board members were either conflicted or somewhat in favor. “With all the help the City and CRA have given us, I feel we should help,” said Lia King. “We’ve always had a cooperation with the city.”

The Board said that it would definitely reach a decision at its Feb. 9 meeting.