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Part-time fire department pay restored

<p>The water department flushes a hydrant in downtown Clinton last week. The department manager told the City Council that water loss for the month was 20 percent.</p>

The water department flushes a hydrant in downtown Clinton last week. The department manager told the City Council that water loss for the month was 20 percent.

Six months after cutting funds for a part-time aide to the Clinton fire chief, the City Council unanimously approved restoring the money for the rest of the year.

On a motion by Councilman Dickey Hink, the council approved placing $3,800 in the budget to pay a part-time worker for the remainder of the year. The request for funding was made by the fire department, councilors said. D.L. Webb has been the chief since February. He was not at the July 12 meeting and the department was represented by Tom Lewis.

Being stripped of part-time help was at least part of the reason former Fire Chief Paul Maddox turned in his resignation on Feb. 2, 2012. In his letter, he said, “Because of recent budget cuts, I will not be able to devote the time needed to continue to improve our fire department, nor will I be able to maintain the improvements made in the past three years.”

In the City Council’s 2012 budget, approved Jan. 19, the fire department budget was set at $126,475. Salaries for the department were $17,971.20. The 2011 budget had included $7,800, which paid for a part-time aide to Maddox. The firefighters are volunteers. When a motion by Wendy Russ to restore the funds for a part-time worker died for lack of a second at a special budget meeting in January, none of the councilmen would answer when Maddox asked them why. Mayor Roger Rorie finally said, “All I can say is that’s what was requested.”

Also at the meeting, Wendy Henderson was unanimously hired as the new recorder/treasurer to replace Merl Eoff who retired last month.

In news from the water department at last week’s meeting:

• Water Department Manager Isaac “Zeke” Keeling reported a monthly water loss of 20 percent and said the treatment plant was running at 80 percent efficiency. Rorie noted that Clinton’s water department was the only one on Greers Ferry Lake that has not been on allocations for customers or on a boil order.

• Hink asked Keeling why the last water bills were for 38-40 days, saying he had heard from many customers. Keeling said the readings were taken at the right time, but the entry date on the bills was incorrect. The bills, he said, were actually for the 30-day cycle.

• Rorie said that on July 2 the water department had a big leak between the pole yard and the Million Gallon tank. He said the situation was “very critical for a few minutes,” before the leak was found and fixed. He said the department was assisted by the Police Department, sheriff’s office, firefighters and the Bee Branch Water Association.

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