Lakeland prepares revisions to residential sewer ordinance

bigger-lakeland-logoAt a Jan. 5 work session, Lakeland’s city board prepared for this Thursday’s business meeting, where they will have the final reading of ordinance changes to revise residential sewer user rates and sewer charge adjustments.

For sewer usage rates, this will change the unit of measurement from gallons to ccf (an industry-standard measurement in hundreds of cubic feet, with the first C standing for the Latin term meaning 100). Changes to the ordinance will also round the ccf rate to 5 ccf. This will reflect the way that Memphis Light Gas and Water reads water meters. A section on sewer charge adjustments will be added, outlining how to request an adjustment to a sewer charge because of faulty equipment or water leaks.

City personnel are re-evaluating the current sewer rate and researching possibilities to reduce sewer charges for irrigation customers. Work has begun with MLGW to explore options such as a winter peak cap and/or cost reductions for irrigation meter installation. Lakeland will also be running new rate models to ensure revenue generated is adequate to improve the sewer funds net position and pay for future capital improvement projects.

The board also heard engineering project updates from City Manager Jim Atkinson:

  • The Clear Creek Interceptor project on the east side of Lakeland is currently in the design phase and is on pace for its construction schedule over the next three to four years.
  • Plantation Hills has had under-drains installed in the roads in three different locations where groundwater was bubbling up to the surface and deteriorating roadways. That work is almost complete and is only waiting on the final layer of asphalt.
  • The Beverle Rivera/Huff N Puff extension is still undergoing clearing and making progress despite inclement weather. It remains on schedule.
  • The Woodbridge drainage project is now in the bid document preparation stage, with expectations to bring a contract for board approval in February. The Oakwood drainage project is in the design phase and should follow shortly.
  • Work on the Interstate 40/Canada Road interchange’s small area plan has concluded an initial series of community meetings, and the architect planner is working on final revisions to the plan's draft.
  • Atkinson also mentioned the BP/Marathon gas station location that includes a McDonald’s. Late last year the Planning Commission denied the business’s sign application, in part because the 90-foot McDonald’s sign wasn’t scheduled to be removed. One of Lakeland’s goals for that business is to remove that high-rise sign in 2017. The McDonald’s also plans to move out of the gas station into a U.S. 64 site as of Sept. 1, Atkinson said. Construction is expected to start soon.
  • The Pet Hospitals of Lakeland will come before the Design Review Commission this month.
  • The city’s major development, The Lake District, was a key topic at the January meeting of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce. The development’s lead leasing agent, Shawn Massey, said they are having a lot of success securing tenants and will have more to report shortly, Atkinson said.

Other business

In other business, the mayor and commissioners discussed:

  • Sanitary sewer improvements: The staff recommendation is to approve a contract with Enscor LLC for the FY2017 Sanitary Sewer Project at $69,200 with a construction contingency amount of $10,000 for a total of $79,200. It was the lower of four bids on the project. The work will repair broken or collapsed sewer lines in eight locations. Most are small point repairs at the residential service connection to the main line. Also included is a replacement line on Canada Road south of Interstate 40, where the pipe beneath a drainage structure (an inaccessible location) has collapsed. A parallel line will be installed and tied into the existing downstream manhole, creating a bypass to the existing line.
  • An Economic Development Commission vacancy: The board will have the remaining interviews with candidates and vote on a resolution to fill the EDC position. The new EDC member will serve the remainder of a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2019.
  • The purchase of a tractor and attachments: City staff recommend the purchase of a John Deere 6105 cab tractor with an Alamo Machete-2 side boom and a 60-inch rotary cutter for $120,500.10 from Tennessee Tractor LLC. It is expected to speed up the trimming of vegetative growth along roadways and sewer right-of-ways and lower costs over the long term by bringing the work in house.
  • Shooting range issues: At the request of a concerned citizen, the board will continue research and discussions about noise and light pollution and the extended hours of the Memphis Sport Shooting Association at 9428 Old Brownsville Road. At the Jan. 5 work session, Lakeland citizen Jesse McCabe provided the board a packet of information for consideration. He spoke to the board previously at a November meeting.

This Thursday’s city board business meeting will be preceded by a reception for outgoing Commissioner Sherri Gallick, who is moving out of Lakeland.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or