Earle water tower needs refurbishing
City officials looking a best plan to pay for paint job
Earle Water Department is working on getting cost estimates to paint the city’s back-up water tower.
Water Department Manager Danny Clark told the City Council that it will likely cost about $250,000 to repaint the tank, but that it needs to be done.
“It’s something that is going to be a very high end expense,” Clark said. “To paint the outside you have to do the inside. That’s where you’re paying most of the money. And if the outside looks like it does, then you know the inside looks just as bad.
Although the city isn’t currently using the water tank, Clark said it is important to have it as a back-up source in case the main tank ever goes down.
The tank holds about 135,000 gallons of water.
“We can’t afford to lose it,” Clark said. “It’s definitely too good a tank not to take care of. We couldn’t afford to replace it. It is still a very viable tank.”
The city’s main water tank holds 500,000 gallons of water. Building a new one would cost over a million dollars, Clark said.
“We could go two days on just the tank without a pump running,” Clark said.
“It’s comparable to anything in Marion or West Memphis. They don’t have tanks any better than that.
They just have more of them. But replacing one would cost a million and a half dollars.”
Councilwoman Jimmie Barham said the city needs to start planning now for the project.
“I’d like to see us put aside some money so that we can save to get that tower done,” Barham said. The water tower hasn’t been painted since about 1976.
“I know it was around the time one of my children graduated from high school,” Barham said. “One was in 1976 and the other was in 1978. But to my knowledge it hasn’t been touched since.”
Clark said there might be some money left over in a maintenance fund that they could use to do the job.
“I’m not sure, but there may be a fund from the bond,” Clark said. “I think there is some money in there that is useable. I’m no accountant, so I don’t know.”
He’s also hopeful that the Water Department’s finances continue to improve.
The Water Department has been working to pay back $80,000 that it owes for payments on the new water tower and to the yard waste, mosquito control, and garbage fund.
The Council agreed to a water rate increase in 2017 which has enable the department to repay about $20,000.
Clark said every time they seem close to getting ahead another high dollar expense comes up that sets them back.
“I was definitely wrong about getting us caught up fast as I thought we were going to,” Clark said. “But it will come around. It’s going to happen.”
Councilwoman Sandy Holloway agreed that the City can’t afford to not have a back-up water tower.
“It’s kind of imperative that we keep this one going,” Holloway said. “If something were to happen to that, we wouldn’t have a back-up.”
Clark told the Council that he should have some figures for the May meeting.
“I will start putting together some preliminary costs in the next month to give you some ideas,” Clark said.