Buchanan is planning a major upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant; a move that city officials expect will double the current facility’s capacity and set the stage for future long-term development.
The plan was discussed in abbreviated form during the regular meeting of the City Council on Oct. 16, when Public Works Director Dean Tanner put council members on notice that the process of applying for federal monies had begun. Tanner did not provide many details of the project during that meeting, but the plan will be the focus of a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at City Hall.
At the Oct. 16 meeting, Tanner told council members that he had been working on this project for more than four years, laying the groundwork for a U. S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant. He told council members that he had just been advised by the agency that the grant was moving forward, and said that the next steps in the process involved alerting the public as to the impact of construction and other issues.
“We have already applied for the Rural Development funding; all of that has already been done,” Tanner told the Council. He said the Oct. 30 meeting “is just to notify the people to come in and sit down and ask ‘what are you going to do?’ and ‘how is this going to affect me?’”
Tanner said the project would involve several construction projects that may affect current residential or business areas, although the intent was to minimize that impact. There will be new sewer lines installed, Tanner said, as well as the re-lining of current sewerage, a process that will not involve major construction. The full extent of the project, however, is not yet known.
“This is just in the preliminary stage right now, and part of it may be changed,” Tanner told the council.
“The biggest thing this is going to do for the city of Buchanan is it’s going to open the doors for new business and industry,” Tanner said. “It will give us capacity - and that’s one thing that we desperately need.”
Tanner said that while part of the current wastewater plant had been in place since 1954, the last major upgrade to the system was in 1974. Expanding the system, he said, should allow the city to also expand.
In other business, the Council met with members of “No Longer Bound,” who offered to work with the city in dismantling structures on properties cited under the city’s new get-tough policy on unkempt land.
Representatives for the group, which is a faith-centered organization that helps young men with addiction issues, offered to work with the city in tearing down unsafe structures, particularly houses, and using the reclaimed wood to make furniture that the group sells at a profit. The group then uses the profits to work toward their goal of being a self-sustaining campus.
While praising the group’s goals and activities, some city officials expressed concern about having a direct relationship with the organization. There was also concern that those who would tear down structures might not have the ability to deal with asbestos and other hazardous material.
Police Chief Tracy Lambert expressed concerns that the properties might not be completely cleared, as the clean-up ordinances require, requiring further enforcement action. Acting Mayor Kenny Hughes was also wary of offering the service to some property owners, but not to others who may equally be unable to comply with the ordinance due to infirmity or lack of resources.
In the end, it was decided that the organization could make their own arrangements with the public, and that contracting with the group could be accepted as proof that those cited under the clean-up ordinance are trying to come into compliance.
During the public participation portion, council members were asked to elaborate on a plan announced during their Sept. 25 meeting to expand the city limits.
Hughes stressed that the current plan to expand the city limits north and south along Business 27 would involve no property owners. And although the council members discussed another annexation proposal to smooth out the city’s jagged border with Haralson County, Hughes reiterated that the plan was still in the discussion stage. Also, the expansion along the highway must be approved by the Legislature when it convenes in January.