Star Valley Council Mulls Spending Limit

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As new operators of the water system in Star Valley, the members of the town council are learning about wells, monitoring systems and the cost of repairs.

At its July 3 meeting, the council heard a report from Town Manager Tim Grier and town water operator Robert Rippy.

Grier led off by telling the council he had a concern about the $5,000 limit on his spending authority when it came to emergency water issues. The concern arose when the pump at the Milky Way site well went out over the weekend.

The cost to replace the pump, pipe, power cord and controls totaled about $2,000, so it did not push the limit. However, another well site in The Knolls needs work that could cost between $7,000 and $8,000.

Grier said this non-emergency project could wait for council approval, but warned future emergency problems might exceed his spending authority.

Grier asked for direction on how to proceed should an emergency with the water system come up. The council took no formal action, but agreed with Grier’s suggestion that the council could allow him to go over $5,000 in the future based on e-mail alerts.

Rippy reported on his progress making an inventory of the wells in the Star Valley system. He said he’s had trouble getting complete information because the monitoring systems send out data for analysis then wait for a return, while in some wells the electronics provide unreliable data. He recommended a more user-friendly system to provide immediate information.

Councilor Vern Leis said he believes the town has the software to make the current monitoring system work better, but it apparently got lost in the shuffle of the move to the new town hall. Rippy said he would look for the software and talk with the company that provided the system.

The council also approved an application for $300,000 in Special Project Community Development Funds for water system improvements. It also agreed to use $15,000 in local funds as leverage for the Special Project Community Development Funds.

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