08/02/05 — Calypso targets property cleanup

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Calypso targets property cleanup

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 2, 2005 1:46 PM

CALYPSO -- Town commissioners are looking into how much it would cost to clean up overgrown lots that some Calypso residents have been complaining about for months.

Jimmy Turner told the Calypso town board Monday night the overgrown lot near his home looks bad. He said he would be willing to clear the lot with his bush hog if the town paid him $650, but that offer did not include hauling off the debris.

Town officials agreed to look into the cost of clearing this and several other lots in town, but Mayor Tom Reaves said he is going to contact the owners first to make sure they pay the town for having the work done.

Town Commissioner Ralph Britt said it could cost about $1,000 to clear just the undergrowth and haul off the debris at the lot near Turner's home. He said it could cost up to $2,500 if the town also had the 10 or 12 large trees removed.

"The expensive part is to haul it off," he said, adding that the tipping fees could run as high as $5,000 in addition to the clearing cost.

Another resident had complained to the board in May about an overgrown lot near her home. Gloria Dyson asked town commissioners to look out for her safety during the May meeting.

"It is a disaster," she said. "There are snakes and rats. When I go to move a flower pot, I see three snakes. If I get bit, somebody's going to get sued."

Ms. Dyson said she is diabetic, and she could die by the time the rescue squad arrived if she were bitten by one of the snakes or roaming rats or opossums she has seen in her yard. They are coming out of the wooded lot, she said.

"I'm tired of killing snakes," she said. "I'm diabetic. I have high blood pressure, and I've had a stroke, and I'm killing snakes because of this wooded street."

The town has several lots that need cleaning, including some owned by the town, Commissioner Rubylene Lambert said. The water plant lot has debris that needs to be hauled off, too, she said.

"If I were coming to this town to open a business, I'd ask to see the water plant," she said. "Go out there and just look."

You have to search for the fire hydrants, she said, adding that she doesn't know how the firemen would be able to find them.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to cost out repairing a large sink hole caused by the recent downpours at the Calypso Baptist Church parsonage driveway.

Church member Greg Wiggins told the board he believes the sink hole is not the fault of crews that recently installed sewer lines in town.

"When the road was re-paved, the construction crew did a fine job, but the recent rain washed it out again," he said. He said it almost looks like a cave has formed under the driveway, and it's dangerous.

Town Commissioner Ralph Britt said he and his partner looked at the sink hole during the weekend, and they determined that there's no way to find out what caused it without digging to a storm pipe that might be damaged. Britt said he will find out the cost of the digging. Meanwhile, the town will put some dirt in the hole and block off the area with cones.

"I feel we need to fix it this week if possible," Britt said.

The board also voted unanimously to hire Utility Services to paint the 100,000-gallon water tank at the main well for $33,800 and install ladder guards to keep unauthorized people off the tank for another $2,800.

Mayor Reaves told the board Utility Services has a good reputation and does the water tanks in Faison and Warsaw.

He said the company proposed last winter to do an eight-year maintenance contract for both water tanks. He said town officials want to have an on-going maintenance plan. But by the time the fourth year came around on the plan proposed by Utility Services, he said, the town would be out of money.

He said the town can afford the $36,600, because $20,000 has already been budgeted for the job, and the town is gaining about $20,000 a year in capital reserves based on the current water rates.