By JD CHARLES
For The Logan Banner
MITCHELL HEIGHTS - A long overdue project that will see fire hydrants in communities through Logan County will see the light of day soon, according to Mitchell Heights Mayor James "Cliff" Motes.
Motes said it has been known for years that water pressure in fire hydrants from Mitchell Heights to Henlawson and elsewhere were not quite up to par in terms of power. He spoke with state and county officials this week about the project, which could begin soon now that spring is here.
A few years ago, many people in Mitchell Heights were upset when they saw bags placed over some of the hydrants around the town, Motes said.
"I talked with those guys about it again, and was told that it could be a four- to six-phase project that will be completed as funding is made available," Motes said Monday night at the end of a long council meeting. The overhaul could begin as soon as spring.
"It's important to realize that the hydrants will still work," Motes said. "They just do not meet the stats for gallons per hour requirements."
Councilman Justin Brown noted the old hydrants - and the lines that serve them - are often in "bad shape," and that the hydrant project had been discussed for some time with no solid news until now.
"Every fire station in our surrounding area has pumper trucks, so we are not actually in danger," Brown added.
"When the bags went over the hydrants last year, that really made the phones here ring," Motes said, explaining that currently the hydrants produce about 60 percent of the water per hour that they need to produce. "This would bring them up closer to 100 percent of where they need to be."
"We are not at risk for liability, as we do not own that utility," said town accountant Jeff Valet, who pointed out that the Logan County Public Service District is in charge of the hydrant upgrade project. "Whoever owns the water lines is the responsible entity."
In other Mitchell Heights news, town clerk Vicky Hale told councilman Justin Brown that the Mitchell Heights Police Department had not received a bid on new radar guns. Motes discussed requirements for calibrating the devices as well as requirements to send them in for routine inspection.
Motes said he attended a meeting earlier in the day at the Logan County Commission, where he and other municipal mayors discussed topics with the commission.
Since last year, Motes has been trying to obtain a surplus police cruiser for Mitchell Heights. He brought the matter up again at the meeting.
"I was told today we should be getting one within the next 90 days," Motes said, adding he would prefer getting an SUV to a sedan, but would be happy with either. "The County Commission does a good job of helping our municipalities," Motes said, saying many of the high ticket jobs that were done in his town in recent years would not have been possible had the County Commission not provided matching funds.
Motes said he also spoke with Logan County Sheriff Sonja Porter.
"She said she will let us know when we can expect it," Motes said of the surplus vehicle, adding that he was told that the Sheriff's Department fleet is on a three-year rotation plan to make sure that the deputies do not get stuck in high-mileage vehicles that are prone to breakdowns.
"This keeps their mileage down. Which means we could get a vehicle that's only got around 100,000 miles on it , or under that amount," Motes said. "I also spoke with some of the other mayors, and I will be honest with you, I was so happy that we are not facing some of the problems and challenges they are facing in their communities. I feel we are lucky that we don't have the problems they do."
Motes noted that some of the neighboring towns are having major problems with collecting funds owed them from residents and businesses that have become headaches as well as old ramshackle buildings that need to be torn down.
Motes said he wanted to know what the town should do with its old grey cruiser if it receives a newer vehicle from the county. Motes said he doubted it would be worth the money it could obtain by selling it.
"I think we should just keep it on for a spare," he said.
The town set its spring and fall yard sales for May 4 and 5 and Oct. 5 and 6.