Cajah's Mountain approves plan for sewer expansion

Feb. 05, 2014 @ 08:52 AM

The Cajah’s Mountain Town Council approved a plan Tuesday that will lay a path forward as the town attempts to expand sewer service.

Cajah’s Mountain, which has more than 2,700 residents, currently has 184 sewer connections, while 31 households are paying the base rate for sewer availability but aren’t connected. About 60 percent of residences in the town use septic tanks – a concern because failing septic systems can cause health concerns because of contamination of the water table.

An update to the town’s sewage collection system master plan, presented Tuesday by Clarence Lockamy of the Wooten Company, identifies ways the town could expand its sewer services, including the need for two additional pump stations.

The plan comes in five phases, and the construction of all of them would cost approximately $11.5 million. Both severity of need and funding availability will determine which areas of the town see sewer expansion first.

“I can’t sit here and tell you whether you need to do this area or that area first,” Lockamy told the town council on Tuesday. “Need is going to dictate where you go. … If you get a lot of concerned citizens saying, ‘We need sewer’ in an area, that may dictate it. Another thing, the primary thing, that’s going to dictate it is going to be funding.”

Town officials will seek grants for sewer infrastructure and hope to identify areas that would be eligible for federal block grants.

The town council also decided Tuesday to stop renting Cajah’s Mountain Town Hall to individuals, although civic organizations like the Lions Club are in the clear. The town receives two or three phone calls each week asking to rent town hall for events such as birthday parties and baby showers, Town Manager Connie South said, and it’s starting to cause problems.

“We’re having stuff get gone, we’re having stuff get damaged,” Mayor Ronnie Setzer said. “We’re cleaning the carpets more frequently than we should. We’ve been experiencing heating and cooling bills that we normally wouldn’t.”

The town also took a step toward selling an old generator. The town council signed a memorandum of understanding with GovDeals, an Alabama-based business that operates an auction-style website that allows governments to sell surplus items online, agreeing to meet with company representatives and discuss placing the generator up for auction.