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Town approves work on north water tower

WESSON – Work on repainting the north water tower could beginwithin a month after aldermen approved the use of some town savingsspecified for the job Tuesday.

The town has received a $100,000 grant to cover some of theexpenses of the approximately $133,000 water tower repaintingproject, said Mayor Alton Shaw during last night’s meeting. Theremaining funds will come from a $35,000 certificate of depositthat was created a few years ago for the project, said Shaw.

Other expenses approved by aldermen Tuesday included a $2,600used ice maker to be used by town employees, such as the water,fire and police departments.

Shaw said the need for an ice maker was first realized duringthe hot days following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. PublicWorks Director Mark Brown noted that street and water departmentemployees use ice often for keeping their drinking water cool.

“We were using three (three-gallon) coolers, and we could puttwo or three bags of ice in each. There’s 10-12 bags of ice a dayduring the summer,” said Brown, explaining the need for an icemaker.

A bag of ice costs anywhere from $1.09-1.60, said aldermen andlocal residents.

Aldermen agreed the ice maker, which can produce 1,250 lbs. ofice per day, will save the town money in the long run. It will behoused in a building behind the police department, and will be ableto run on a generator so ice will be available during poweroutages, said Shaw.

In other business, local residents asking for support inprotesting a rate increase by Entergy.

Misti Wise, who lives in the Wesson area, asked aldermen andresidents to attend an 8 a.m. public hearing on April 5 at theWoolfolk Building in Jackson.

During the hearing, Mississippi residents will have a chance todiscuss why they do not want the cost of Hurricane Katrina passedon to customers through a rate increase spread out over the nextfive years. Wise disagrees with the measure by Entergy to recoupcosts associated with installing new power poles, lines andtransformers to return electricity to its customers.

“During the storm, they did a lot. I was praying for all thoseguys,” she said. “Once it (cost of electricity) goes up, though, itwon’t come back down.”

Wise and others shared stories of Wesson residents who have beenhit with high electricity bills, some twice as expensive. Shepointed out that the bills would only get higher if residents don’tspeak up and stop Entergy from passing off the expenses.

“I’m thinking about my kids,” said Wise. “I’m thinking about thelittle old lady eating peanut butter and crackers because she can’tafford to cook.”

Wise said concerned citizens should call the Public ServiceCommission to ask for a chance to speak during the hearing. Thosewho are approved will be allotted five minutes.