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Chase City spends $15,800 on pump, truck repairs

SoVaNow.com / November 10, 2021
Chase City Town Council agreed Monday to earmark $8,500 from the town’s contingency fund to pay for repairs to a grinder pump at the wastewater treatment plant and another $7,300 to repair Chase City’s trash truck.

Town Manager Dusty Forbes said the grinder pump and trash truck repairs were both unexpected and necessary.

Before approving the expenditures at Monday night’s meeting of Town Council, Council member Marshall Whitaker sought an explanation from Jim Wilson, public works director, about the pump being replaced. “I thought money was already appropriated for a new pump at the sewer plant,” said Whitaker.

Wilson replied that the pump in need of repairs was different than the one Whitaker had mind. It is a grinder pump. Forbes added that the equipment was so old that replacement parts were not available, and the pump could not be rebuilt.

This prompted Wilson to explain the function of the grinder pump — to break down the paper products flushed into the sewer lines. Wilson said wastewater treatment plant employees “have been combating rags in the influent flow. By rags I mean hand sanitizing wipes, Clorox wipes, baby wipes, makeup cleaning wipes, etc. These do not break down, they clog drains and piping causing many problems,” including taxing the grinder pump.

Wilson said while the packaging on many of these products claim they are flushable or biodegradable, “they are not.” He asked residents to find other ways to dispose of the products, such as in the trash receptacle, and not down the toilet.

In other business, Forbes announced that the Rivermont School, a therapeutic educational experience for students between the ages of fvie and 22 with special needs, is looking to expand. They need an additional 5,000 square feet of space, Forbes said. The school is currently located at 633 North Main Street. He is working with school administration to locate suitable space in town.

Forbes said he expects to have a new kiosk installed at Woodland Cemetery by the end of the year. The kiosk will identify by name the gravesites located inside the cemetery.

Other work taking place in town includes ongoing installation of new digital meters for reading water and sewer usage, completion of rehabilitation of homes on Endly Street using Community Development Block grant money, and planning for upcoming rehabilitation to homes and streets along B Street.

Phase three of the SCADA installation at the wastewater treatment plant has begun. A SCADA system is a computer system that monitors devices, and gathers data that can be read remotely,

Council agreed to purchase a new dump truck to be used for hauling dirt and other materials at Woodland Cemetery. The town’s existing truck “is on its last legs and it’s better to replace it now before we have a catastrophic failure,” Forbes said.

Forbes said he found a 2012-model small dump truck with only 61,000 miles on it for a price of $42,900. Council members nodded agreement when he said the price was reasonable.

The money for the expenditure will come from the town’s cemetery fund, which was donated to the town for the upkeep of Woodland Cemetery. The cemetery fund is not part of the town budget.

The Chase City Police Department has been awarded a $4,368 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). Police Chief J.A. Jordan said the grant monies will be used to purchase new equipment for the department.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, which oversees a portion of JAG funds, made the award. The funds are given to localities to support their efforts to reduce crime and improve public safety in Virginia.

Council member BJ Mull expressed his satisfaction with the town’s new shooting range. It was built on the site of the former Chase City landfill for use by the town police department. The range was installed by members of the public works department. Mull called the shooting range “top notch and a good decision.”

His one request was for the town to investigate upgrades to an existing building at the range, which he said could be used for cleaning and repairing but not storing weapons.

Mayor Alden Fahringer’s comments included a summary of police, fire department and public works activities for the month of October. The Chase City fire department responded to 29 calls and participated in a training class focused on tactical considerations and problems faced by volunteer departments. Firefighters Jacob Whitten and Nicholas Anderson also attended a large animal rescue class in Halifax County.

As they do every year, the volunteer firefighters cooked and served free hot dogs to the crowds attending the annual Downtown Chase City trunk or treat. Whitaker asked town residents to shop at Castle’s Butcher Shop to show appreciation to the local business for once again donating the food prepared at trunk or treat. “Go visit Castle’s and thank them. They do a lot of things around here that no one knows about. That’s what a small community is about.”

The police department issued 34 summonses, 42 traffic violations and investigated 22 incidents involving a hit and run crash, vandalism, larceny, and harassment by computer, among other complaints. Town officers also patrolled 9,459 miles during the month.

Public works employees spent the month mowing around streets and beginning leaf pick-up. They also repaired seven separate water leaks, including one that required the town to empty and refill a 500,000-gallon water tank. Hydrants and water lines were flushed ahead of wintry weather setting in and ongoing upgrades and maintenance work was performed at the airport. This was done in addition to their ongoing work collecting trash, servicing town vehicles, and performing routine sanitation and maintenance on town buildings.

Wilson praised his industrious staff at public works, calling them “a great group of guys [who] have each other’s back.”

During the September meeting of Town Council, local resident Lewis Carter registered ongoing concerns about speeding vehicles and large trucks on Sycamore Street. Forbes agreed to look into the problem. Monday night, Forbes said new signage that prohibits thru traffic by tractor-trailers has been ordered for the road.

Police have stepped up their patrols in the area, Jordan said.

James Bohanan encouraged young people between the ages of 12 and 21 to consider joining the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. CAP cadets participate in a year-round program that teaches flying and leadership skills and offers recreational outlets such as camping and hiking.

The stated mission of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program is “to transform youth into dynamic citizens and aerospace leaders through a curriculum that focuses on four elements: leadership, aerospace, fitness and character.” Fahringer said it is a fun and inexpensive way to earn a pilot’s license.

Bohanan even offered to pay the $35 dues for any young person who joins the organization.

Both Fahringer and Forbes asked for residents to become active volunteers with organizations in town.

“Helpers are few and far between. Many groups need help [personal and financial],” Fahringer said. Those who do not know where to find an organization with which to get involved should contact Fahringer or any member of Town Council. “Ask council, where can I get plugged in,” he said.

“That’s what keeps a community going,” added Forbes.



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