Brighter nights ahead in Lynn

WINSTON COUNTY - The town of Lynn will install seven new LED lights at the baseball fields in Lynn City Park and replace the town’s streetlights with brighter, more cost-effective LED lights as well.
The town council voted unanimously to approve both actions after discussion at its April 18 meeting. Council member Chris Little was not present.
The new lights at the baseball fields, which will be positioned between the batting cage and the concession stand, in front of the concession stand, behind the bathrooms and over the parking lot, will cost the town $283.60 a month.
Meanwhile, the new LED streetlights should save the town about $146 a month, according to an estimate provided by Alabama Power, which will install all the new lights. Mayor Earl Gilbert said Alabama Power had told him the new streetlights would pay for themselves within four or five years.
Town Clerk Marcia Manasco later said that it is her understanding that there will be no cost to the town to make the change.
The motion to install the lights at the baseball fields was made by Allen Barnett and seconded by Brian Heck. The motion to change the streetlights to LED lights was made by Tommy Chambless and seconded by Barnett.
Another improvement to the baseball fields that the council is considering—installing a gate and fencing—was tabled until more price quotes could be obtained. At an April 11 work session, Gilbert had told the council he’d been given a quote of $10,050 for the needed amount of regular chain link fencing and a gate by Jasper Fence Company.
Gilbert said he would prefer white powder-coated chain link for the gate and for the fencing from the gate to the woodline, which would match the existing fencing. He said he would like the fence to be at least five feet high. He would like to have regular chain link fencing placed behind the bathrooms and concession stand, where there is a drop-off that could be dangerous to kids who play there.
The council voted unanimously to buy a new Stalker Dual DSR radar unit for the Lynn Police Department’s 2015 Chevy Tahoe for $2,585. Barnett moved to purchase the new radar, Heck seconded the motion and all present voted in favor.
Police Chief Bryan Kirkpatrick later said, “(The radar unit currently in use) still functions but has aged and needs to be replaced.”
The council also voted unanimously to finance the $175,000 loan for the purchase of the former M&M Restoration property with People’s Trust Bank of Hamilton, which offered the lowest interest rate and closing cost of the three quotes the town had obtained. The motion to do so was made by Heck and seconded by Chambless.
The council tabled until the next meeting the approval of a franchise agreement with Spectrum Southeast, a subsidiary of Charter Communications, which wants to provide broadband internet and telephone service to north Lynn. Attorney Jeff Mobley is working with Spectrum Southeast to ensure the agreement specifies exactly which part of Lynn will have access service. If approved by the council, the agreement will give Spectrum use of the town’s right away to install cables and do any other necessary work, and the town will receive five percent of Spectrum’s gross profit from customers in north Lynn every year.
Also tabled was the matter of purchasing digital-read meters. The council had received details about and estimates of the cost of meters from three different companies from Water Supervisor Joey Bell at the April 11 work session. Bell said Alabama Power would install what’s called an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for $575,500, which could be paid out over 15 years and would necessitate a water rate increase for Lynn customers of $5 per active meter per month.
An AMI system includes meters, a communication network and data management software. Water use can be recorded “hourly or more frequently” and transmitted to the operator every day or even more often, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee.  No one has to go out to read the meters in person.
Two other meter systems, both of which include drive-by digital-read meters that town employees would have to install and read (by driving by the meters), could also be paid out over 15 years, Bell reported. Sensus Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters would cost $232,875, which would necessitate a water rate increase of 32 cents per active meter per month. Neptune AMR meters would cost $165,000, which would necessitate a water rate increase of 22 cents per active meter per month.
At the April 18 meeting, the council members noted that the prices were high and decided the matter needed more discussion. They wanted to make sure the town would be able to continue to afford the payments for the meters in the future before proceeding.
In other business, Gilbert told the council he had been informed that the town’s purchase of the former BankFirst property is progressing. The council had thought as of its March meeting that the purchase would be finalized by mid-April. Manasco later said, “The paperwork was not prepared by mid-April as expected, but it should be prepared by the first week of May.”
At the April 11 work session, the council had been approached by Martha Tucker, owner of Mava’s Cafe, who would like to rent or lease the property at 22014 Hwy. 5, where a doctor’s office was once located. She said she needed a larger building for her cafe and would add a building to the property. Gilbert told her the council needed time to consider it.  
Also at the session, it was decided that the three town employees who use the Cintas Uniform Service—and whose uniforms were not being reliably returned after they were laundered by the service each week—would each keep six of the company’s uniforms and launder them themselves until the town’s five-year contract with Cintas expires in two years.
The next meeting of the Lynn Town Council will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, May 16, at the old Town Hall.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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