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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
At Monday’s Barry City Council meeting, Bob Dieker and Kristy Jeffers were both honored for their decades of service to the community.
All told, Bob Dieker served Barry as an employee and as an alderman for a total of 29 years. Before sitting on the city council as an alderman, Dieker served as City Administrator and the Public Works Director.
Kristy Jeffers was Barry’s water operator for 22 years before retiring.
At the meeting, Barry’s council went on to approve the city’s annual appropriations ordinance. With the appropriations ordinance, the council approved the city’s $1,996,686.92 budget for the year.
Barry City Administrator Jeff Hogge indicated that the largest portions of the city’s budget were personnel costs as well as outlay for infrastructure projects around the community.
“Personnel is a big one, and we’ve got expenses related to the sewer projects,” Hogge said. “It’s up a little from last year.”
Council members also discussed publishing a community newsletter to keep residents apprised of city initiatives and community events.
“Now that Barry doesn’t have it’s own newspaper, we are thinking about putting out a monthly, one-sheet newsletter,” Hogge said. “We would distribute it in businesses – the restaurants and gas stations – so that more people can see what’s going on in town.”
According to Hogge, there are tentative plans to launch the new newsletter next month.
Also discussed by council members was the matter of completing sidewalk repairs, which has proven difficult for the city due to public works employee turnover.
“We’re down to basically three guys,” Hogge said. “With everything else going on, we just don’t have time to do the sidewalks.”
As a result of the city’s inability to complete sidewalk repairs with existing staff, Hogge indicated that the city is looking at its options to bring in a private contractor to complete the repair work.
Council members went on to discuss proposed updates to Barry’s wastewater treatment facility, which could make the treatment of wastewater more efficient, eliminate the presence of some anaerobic bacteria, and result in cleaner water.
“We discussed putting in some different aerators to add more oxygen into the system, which has two holding ponds and two sand filters,” Hogge said. “The increased oxygen can just help break up some of that junk in the system, and the water comes through the filters cleaner.”
A discussion of refurbishing the old Lafayette Park water tower also took place at Monday’s council meeting. Hogge said that the whole water tower will be stripped and repainted sometime next year.
“We’re going to wait until late fall or early winter to put it out for bid,” Hogge said. “Right now our estimate is that the project will cost about $350,000.”
The city also plans to open a line of credit to help complete the ongoing sewer lining project that has been undertaken in older and deeper portions of Barry’s sewer system.
“We’re going to go to the banks to open a $210,000 line of credit to help us do lots of sewer lining on the west side of town,” Hogge said.
Hogge indicated that the line of credit is being sought because the state grants that will ultimately pay for the sewer lining work on a reimbursement basis. So, in order to receive the reimbursement grants from the state, the city needs to pay for the work up front using the line of credit.
Finally, Hogge said that the council voted to contribute $500 to the Barry Apple Festival, which the city has traditionally done on an annual basis. This year, Hogge said, the festival plans to start earlier than normal, with official activities kicking off Thursday afternoon and extending through the weekend.