City council approves air ambulance membership

The Italy City Council approved an Air Evac Lifeteam ambulance membership service at its regular meeting held Monday evening in council chambers.

Jane Mize, with Air Evac, said the firm would offer air ambulance service for residents on the Italy water system at a cost of $5 per household per month. The monthly charge would be added to the water bill.

The air service, located in Ennis, is an optional service for residents. She assured the council that those on this plan would never be charged an additional fee should the service be used.

Mize said they would send letters to households on the water system explaining this service.

In other business, Charles Hyles sought reimbursement for equipment damage at his car wash caused by high chlorine levels in the water.

The council approved a little over $300 for Hyles after he explained that the high chlorine levels in the water deteriorated equipment at his car wash.

He said this high chlorine content caused the car wash cleaner to neutralize thus not cleaning a car properly.

Recently he called Dean Carrell, water superintendent, to his car wash. After testing, the chlorine level was 7.5. The maximum allowed by the state is four.

Carrell said the state requires the city to test water levels one time a day. Since this incident, he said they are monitoring the water three times a day.

Hyles said the $300 is just the tip of the iceberg because business does not repeat when someone spend $9 to clean their car in the automatic wash and it comes out dirty looking after the wash.

Hyles said this town would never grow until the city makes changes in the water system.

Teri Murdock, city administrator, said the city is working with engineers about various options. However, she said they would have the same problem even if they were on surface water due to the age of the holding tanks.

Resident Elmerine Bell addressed the council regarding the July 4 holiday.

She said residents use fireworks illegally near the elementary school. She said the crowd grows larger every year and children are unsupervised.

Last year, she said residents parked at the school and got out with large backpacks filled with fireworks. She said they fired at each other and at houses near the school. The next morning, she said trash and waste from the night before littered the streets and the school parking lot.

She urged the council to take action before someone is seriously injured or major property damage occurs.

During department reports, retiring police chief C.V. Johns thanked the council and citizens for their support.

During the month of May, the police department received 107 calls to service. Officers made four misdemeanor arrests, 11 traffic warrant arrests and one state jail arrest. Officers worked a total of 1,195.5 hours. The animal control officer worked 68.5 hours and captured 19 animals. The code enforcement officer sent 22 letters.

During his report, Carrell said all three water wells are up and running.

He explained that the state legislature now requires a “tax” on water usage over a certain number noting that this will begin costing the city between $18,000 and $25,000 per year. Carrell said he never expected the state to hit water districts like this and said that amount was not budgeted in the water budget.

Murdock said the demolition of the former community center is underway. She said contractors will work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

She said the Italy EDC would hold a public hearing Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. to discuss what type of structure will replace the buildings once they are demolished.

She said the council would interview candidates to fill the police chief’s slot this week.

The council also approved a regulation of thoroughfares, providing for truck routes and parking. She said this is an updated ordinance that is more in line with state requirements. This will keep 18 wheels and double-axle trucks off city streets and prohibits truck parking on city streets.

The council reappointed Tom Little to the Economic Development Corporation Board, approved minutes from the previous meetings, bills and earned compensatory time.

The council took no action on an agenda to purchase the Italy Museum because the person making the request did not show up.

Mayor Frank Jackson reminded everyone of the Tour d’ Italia bike ride scheduled Saturday.

Comment by Patsy Howard (6/14/11-12:08pm)

Thanks Mr. Hyles. I am typing up my $300 bill for damage to my hot water heater from high chlorine levels.  I expect the same reimbursement.