In a meeting Tuesday night at town hall, Ronda commissioners approved the hiring of a Morganton consulting group to do a study on what it will take to either repair or replace two water tanks.
The preliminary engineering report will be done by West Consultants. The firm was hired on a 4-1 vote, with the lone opposing vote cast by Commissioner Manual Wood.
As commissioners have discussed in previous meetings, the town’s two water storage tanks, at the very least, need to be painted on the inside and out, using a special coating.
In a meeting last month, Ronda consultant Ron Niland said one of the tanks, a horizontal standpipe model within the town limits, hasn’t received this necessary procedure since being installed in 1993. The other, a traditional elevated tank located near East Wilkes Middle School, was installed in 2003 and hasn’t since received a new coating of paint.
Mayor Victor Varela noted that the standpipe essentially serves those within the town limits. The elevated tank mainly meets the needs of customers outside the town, including the middle school and East Wilkes High School. When school is in session, the high school is the town’s biggest water customer, he said.
In a letter to Varela, distributed to commissioners at a work session last week, Benjamin B. Thomas of West Consultants laid out three options for the town to consider.
One would be to keep both town water tanks active and paint the inside of them in the near future to ensure water quality.
Another would be to abandon the standpipe tank “until such time as its storage volume is needed, delaying its maintenance until then and repainting the elevated tank in the very near future.”
The third option would be to get rid of both existing tanks and replace them with a newer tank. Such a tank, being new, would cost less in the future in terms of operation and maintenance, Thomas noted.
Niland said buying a new tank is the more expensive option. Estimates for simply painting and updating the two existing tanks are between $230,000 and $250,000, he explained.
The cost of the preliminary engineering report approved by the board Tuesday will be $2,500.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to again untable draft proposals for ordinances governing nuisance properties, minimum housing standards, the keeping of farm animals and fowl and the disposition of junk vehicles.
Commissioner Sandra Simmons made the motion to untable the motions, maintaining that some property owners in Ronda “are starting to make their own landfills” by dumping garbage behind and around their homes. “We can’t let that happen,” she said. “it’s a health hazard, a nuisance and an eyesore.”
Simmons and commissioners Helen Porter and Kay Luffman voted to untable the ordinances, which will be discussed at the board’s meeting on the second Tuesday in June.
Royal said she is concerned that the town would have difficulty enforcing the ordinances.
The motions, which have been considered on an off for years, were tabled by the board in February after some Ronda residents spoke out strongly against them.