Easterday takes exam; other Gainesville news

Gainesville City employee Josh Easterday recently completed training and passed a test to become certified as a “operator class C” allowing him to be the city’s wastewater treatment operator. City Clerk Lisa Goodnight says Gainesville city wastewater treatment facility requires the operator to be at a class C certification level to operate, and the process to obtain the certification is no small feat. It means that soon the city will not have to hire an outside company to perform the testing and other processes required to operate the facility. The exception is a monthly sample test that requires more training and equipment than the city has. Easterday has been training under Jerry Jackson of Big Piney Environmental, who will still be available to answer questions and help Easterday if needed as he begins the work on his own. 

In a previous meeting, the council allowed Easterday a budget of $10,000 to equip the wastewater treatment plant. He said he purchased the required equipment and has spent $9,100 but would also like to purchase a pump and a longer hose. He told the council that he would get pricing information for those items and present to the council at a future meeting.


Saving more than 11 million gallons of water in 2022

Water Specialist Jessi Price gave a water department report, explaining that a leak had been detected in the center area, causing the water loss to go up slightly. Price said she anticipated the leak would be found soon and repaired.

Price also gave the council a overview of the city’s total water leak loss from 2021 to 2022, as she reported in her annual major water use report. 

The results were dramatic thanks to the city’s focus last year on fixing leaks including a large and costly leak repair near Dollar General parking lot. Before it was fixed, the city averaged  a million-gallon water loss every month. The dramatic water loss had been ongoing for years. Price said the installation of new and more efficient water meters across the city also aided in the water conservation. 

In the center water district, the city lost 951,573 gallons less in 2022 than the previous year. In the west district, where the Dollar General water leak was repaired, the city lost 10,222,777 gallons less in 2022. In the east district, the city lost 247,248 gallons less in 2022. Total the city saved just under 11.5 million gallons of water in the three districts in 2022. 

Price said the city has already begun to feel the cost savings in electricity, chlorine and water pump life thanks to the major leak decreases across the city. 


Airport property appraisal

 The city council had shown interest in having the remaining section of the airport property it still owns appraised (see explanation of property in jump from the article “High School Drive,” page 15). 

The assessor’s office shows that the piece is 17.96 acres. 

City Clerk Lisa Goodnight told the council members that she spoke with Appraisal Centere - The Ozarks in Ava, and they said the property warrants a commercial appraisal, which would cost $2,500. The appraiser said that there was no comparable properties within Gainesville city, so the comps for the appraisal would not be within Gainesville city. 

The motion to go forward with the appraisal passed unanimously.


Water/sewer bill forgiveness request

Gainesville resident Doris Sayles requested the council consider some forgiveness on a $633 water bill she received after a water break at a home that she and husband Wayne own (but do not reside in) on Elm Street in Gainesville. The water break caused 177,000 gallons of water to flood into and around the house, she said. The council voted to split the bill with the Sayles, lowering the bill to $316.50. 

Harlin Heights Apartments manager Donnis Taylor also made a request for forgiveness on a commercial sewer bill through a written letter addressed to the city council.

Jessi Price explained that a water line burst on the Harlin Heights property. Because the pipe was private property, the apartment owners were responsible for fixing the leak. 

The city water that came from the busted pipe on the property went onto the ground. Taylor requested that the sewer bill of $745 be lowered since the extra water didn’t go into the city sewer and instead flowed out onto the ground. 

The council voted unanimously  to adjust the sewer bill to $275, closer to what the typical Harlin Heights sewer bill is. They forgave the remaining $470. 


Water line replacement at Gainesville fire house

The council reviewed a bid for $1,918 from repairman Kenny Ericksen to replace the water lines at the Gainesville fire house that busted during a cold snap in December. 

Goodnight said that all the water lines in the building are busted, and the entire fire house needs to be re-plumbed. 

She explained that although the fire house building is heated and a door was left open to the fire house bathroom, not enough heat got into the room. Because the bathroom includes an exterior wall, it caused the pipes to bust in the freezing weather.

Ericksen’s bid includes the caveat that a current exterior feed line to an outside water hydrant is not included; and instead, he would move the spigot inside the building. 

The council voted unanimously  to accept Ericksen’s bid.


Misc. business

Other miscellaneous business included voting to advertise to request sealed bids for the Gainesville Volunteer Fire Department’s 1985 Chevy 4WD pickup and a M-1098 Stewart & Stevenson cargo truck, the lime green brush truck the VFD has used for several years. 

The council says that the vehicles will be moved down to City Hall before they are sold. The vehicles will be advertised for sale in the classified/legal section in an upcoming edition of the Times. More information can be obtained by stopping by or calling City Hall at 417-679-4858.

The Lick Creek stabilization project was also discussed. It’s completion has been delayed due to weather. 

Various paperwork that is required for the city to receive a grant was approved to be submitted by the clerk. 

The council discussed options for hiring a company for an audit. Goodnight says she will have the opportunity to speak with CPAs in person at a five-day city clerk conference in March. The council decided to wait until after then to take the matter up. 


Editor’s note: The Gainesville City Council meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at City Hall on the Gainesville square. The meetings are open to the public. The next city council meeting will be held Tuesday, March 21, due to a scheduling conflict of city clerk Lisa Goodnight, who will be at a city clerk’s conference during the regularly scheduled meeting date of March 14. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423