Blue Ridge Passes Water Contract with County, Purchases New Radios

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Following a months-long negotiation process, the Blue Ridge City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Fannin County Water Authority this week at the council’s monthly meeting. According to the agreement, Blue Ridge will sell Fannin County water up to a maximum of 150,000 gallons a day for forty years at a wholesale rate of $2.25 per thousand gallons, with a minimum purchase of 20,000 gallons a day. Additionally, the water authority is responsible for installing and maintaining 6” pipes to connect to Blue Ridge water lines.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council also approved the purchase of 17 new radios and a repeater for the city. The move is a response to an FCC regulation from several years ago. The agency limited the bandwidth for municipal frequencies, forcing local governments to purchase new equipment to accommodate the new frequencies. During the meeting, Council Member Rodney Kendall said the FCC states the mandate is due to lack of space.

“They want everyone to go to narrow-band,”

he explained,

“Because they have so many frequencies (that) they’re running out of space, so they’re shortening everyone’s frequencies.”

Kendall went on to say the FCC cut the frequencies in half and plans to do so again in the next 10 years, which, he said, would significantly affect the city’s reception. City Manager Bill Sowers said Blue Ridge received two bids for the purchase of the radios. Motorola submitted a bid of $13 to $14,000 and Mountain Communication Inc. bid the project for $8000.

Council passed a motion for the city to purchase the equipment from Mountain Communication Inc. Mountain Communication currently performs all the radio maintenance for the city police department, Sowers said.

Additionally, council approved the engineering consultant for part four of Streetscape Phase I, the city’s on-going beautification project. As of Tuesday, the city was faced with three choices for the work: 1) John Benson 2) Stevenson Palmer 3) Yeager Company. Previously, Benson worked on Phase I of the project.

“They have all those plans on file,”

Sowers said,

“so we felt like they could do it (and) at a cheaper price too, since they already got all the road work done.”

And, although, Yeager worked on Phase I and the depot part of the project, the city seemed more comfortable with Benson. Council approved Benson as consultant for the next portion of the Streetscape project, which will extend along Carter Street.

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