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Hotel owner seeks billing adjustment

October 31, 2011

By CARL SMITH
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Hotel Chester owner David Mollendor will ask the Starkville Board of Aldermen today for help with his water bill after experiencing numerous days of brown water.
In a letter included in the Nov. 1 board e-packet, Mollendor said he will request his business’ August, September and October bills are adjusted to compensate for the flushings he performed to clear Hotel Chester of brown water.
The city’s public works department has received many reports of brown water after a federally mandated chlorine adjustment caused rust particles in Starkville pipes to break off and discolor the water. City officials say despite the discoloration, the water is still potable
Mollendor’s letter cites nine dates over the three-month period where the water at his business was “turbid.”
“An attempt to resolve the matter with Mr. Charles Box (Starkville Water Department manager) ... fell on deaf ears,” Mollendor said in his letter. “His position is that the water is safe and usable, and if it goes through the meter, you pay for it. I feel his demeanor about both the water quality and usability to be completely unacceptable ...”
Mollendor said has received several complaints from customers about the hotel’s water situation.
“When I have a customer say, ‘I couldn’t even brush my teeth,’ how is that right? To be honest with you, it’s the kind of thing that if you have a kitchen and you’re trying to clean produce, it’s not right,” he said. “My problem is with the water department’s attitude of ‘If it’s metered, you pay.’”
Mollendor also said he’s concerned about the potability of the water itself.
Calls to Box and Starkville Public Works Director Doug Devlin went unreturned Monday.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the board will hear Mollendor’s presentation today and any decision the board makes could set precedence on the matter in the future.
The board will also hold a public hearing on amending the city ordinances to include one-stage road project constructions.
“Essentially, the primary change is allowing developers to install the full pavement at the infrastructure installation (one-stage construction) instead of installing the pavement base with the infrastructure and then the final layer of asphalt at 85-percent build out of the houses (two-stage construction),” City Engineer Edward Kemp said in a report presented to the board. “As it is currently written, our street specifications allow only the two-stage construction and there have been numerous requests from developers and engineers to consider this revision.”
Kemp’s report outlines various advantages with the change, which includes improving stormwater drainage and theoretically reducing base failure repairs. His report also said the primary disadvantage with the change is a greater chance of water penetration to joints where repairs have already occurred.
“Additionally, the final roadway surface will not be consistent in appearance and may be uneven in places where the patches are installed,” Kemp said in his report.
If approved, the change will not only allow one-stage construction, but also continue to allow subdivisions to proceed with a two-stage construction if the developer chooses. It will further permit developers who began their projects as a two-stage construction project to convert it to a one-stage construction project provided the outlined requirements are met.
Kemp will also present a report detailing potential projects and their costs for Maple Drive drainage areas and the Carver Drive ditch and floodplain area.
As outlined in the agenda, Carver Drive has five alternate proposals, each with two options, while Maple drive has two proposals, each with three options: a pipe and concrete channel, a pipe and gabion basket and a pipe and earthened channel.
The board will also hear about the results of a traffic study at the intersection of North Montgomery Street and Garrard Road.
The report attached in the agenda says a signal is not warranted or recommended at the location, but “it is possible that local traffic patterns have not yet fully adapted to include the new roadway.” A signal may be required in the future based on traffic patterns.
The report suggests rescinding a previous motion to install a traffic signal at that location.
In other board business, Greater Starkville Development Partnership representative Jennifer Gregory will present plans for the Nov. 6 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the county courthouse square. The board will consider a closing Main Street from Washington Street to Lafayette Street from 5-7 p.m. for the event.
The Starkville Board of Aldermen will meet today at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall courtroom.

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