Bienville Park repairs ongoing

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, February 22, 2014

Repairs to a sewage pipe underneath Bienville Park are nearing completion as the Selma City Council considers ways to replace the collapsed structure.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Selma City Council, engineering consultant Ray Hogg provided two different options to repair the pipe permanently. One would cost the city approximately $30,000 and permanently replace the collapsed pipe near the Alabama River. The second option would cost approximately $150,000 and replace the sewer pipe from Bienville Park to the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Lauderdale Street.

Hogg said replacing the immediate problem wouldn’t be a temporary fix and would reduce the cost of any future problems with the same sewage pipe.

“When we took a look at it the bottom of the pipe that’s in there now has just disappeared,” Hogg said. “That same section of pipe goes down Lauderdale and I’m sure it is caving in up the street. If you choose the first option you can always come back and connect to it with a later fix.”

After considering the financial impact of both projects, Council members Michael Johnson and Greg Bjelke both suggested option one.

The decision will be relegated to the public works committee, who will consider both options and make a suggestion to the council at a later meeting.

One potential source to pay for repairs is the half-cent sales tax fund. The tax generates approximately $100,000 each month. It currently contains $281,514.

In other news from the meeting:

The council agreed to purchase three new cars for the Selma Police Department.

Earlier in February, Selma Chief of Police William Riley said the department would use a state contractor to buy three Ford Explorers at $39,000 each, but during Thursday’s meeting Selma Mayor George Evans said the city would put out a request for bids to local car dealerships.

“All the local businesses wanted a chance to beat the state bid price,” Evans said. “We just wanted to give our local businesses a chance.”

Evans also asked the council to consider allocating additional money from oil lease funds to help pay for an electric substation near the public works department.

The council has raised approximately $8,000 so far, but needs a total of $15,000.

Evans said the money would pay for replacing the substation, relocating it and purchasing any necessary electrical equipment.