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Rosston using ARPA funds to pay plumber

By Staff, 08/10/21 9:50 AM

ROSSTON – Money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be used to pay plumbing bills for the City of Rosston.

The Rosston City Council, at its August meeting Monday night, approved of using the money in this way. Mayor Dale Quarles told the panel a few months ago the city was losing water from the tower and had no idea where it was going. Scott Plumbing was hired to find the leak with help from the Arkansas Rural Water program. Part of the problem, it turned out, was the leak was from a six-inch line in a creek that had been damaged by debris. Another part of the problem was it had been raining and the creek was up so it was hard to find the leak.

“I knew it would be expensive,” Quarles said, telling the council a second leak was found in a two-inch line as well. Overall, the plumbing bill for repairing the two leaks was $20,633.47. He said using the city’s money would have been problematic and left the city in a bind. However, the first of two ARPA payments arrived with the bill. A check with the Arkansas Municipal League showed it would be legal to use these funds to pay for the repairs, which is what the council decided.

“Now,” Quarles said, “we can avoid the red tape of figuring out other uses for the recovery money.” After paying the plumber, the city was left with $3,853.39. Quarles said the city needs to do something about erosion in creeks where water lines are, telling the panel the plumbers suggested they use rip-rap as it would let the water through, but block debris. He added the city will be getting another $24,000 in ARPA money next year.

The panel was informed the city will also be looking into recovering lost revenue from the water that drained from the tank due to the leaks.

The only other item of business dealt with the new water meters. Quarles said all the new meters have been installed and the city is working to get the bugs out. He told the council some customers could see higher or lower bills this month while the kinks are being ironed out. He pointed out residents need to keep an eye on their meters to make sure they don’t have a leak. He told the council if people flip the meter up three times it will show what’s happening, and if they see FL and numbers are moving, it means water is running somewhere. He added the city will help those who are unable to check the meters themselves.

As the meeting came to an end, Quarles encouraged everyone to get vaccinated for COVID-19, saying the shots are free.

He also said Entergy had been in town repairing street lights and now the city is brighter at night, but the project isn’t finished as it’s darker outside the city limits. The next step, he said, will be to add five more lights down Hwy. 371.

When asked when the special election for a sales tax will be held, Quarles said the election has been set for Oct. 12.