Woodstock to fix pool filter, dam devices

Woodstock needs to replace its 20-year-old pool filter and pressure-testing devices at its dam.

Town Council plans to consider several spending proposals at its meeting next week. The Finance Committee discussed the matters Tuesday and recommended that council take the suggested actions, Town Manager Reid Wodicka said Wednesday.

The town built the pool about 20 years ago. Aside from a few upgrades, the facility is using the original filter, Wodicka said. But chlorinated water constantly flowing through the metal filter during the summer months has caused a hole to open in the side. Town workers repaired the hole over the past several years and tried to weld it shut. This remedy worked for a while but the damage now makes it impossible to weld the hole. Workers wrapped a large rubber gasket over the hole with a ratchet strap to close the gap temporarily.

The lowest bid of $30,156 would cover the cost of a new filter and related materials as well as its assembly. Wodicka recommended that council take the necessary funds from savings and to amend the fiscal 2016 budget to reflect the expense.

“So we’ve been bandaging it for a couple of years trying to get into a position that we are comfortable with,” Wodicka said. “We’ve been able to keep it OK for a couple of years, but now it’s time to just take care of it.”

Also at the meeting, the committee discussed the need for new piezometers for the dam at Little Stoney Creek, about 12 miles west of town. Such devices measure water pressure. Council appropriated $20,000 in the fiscal 2015 budget to design, purchase and install the devices. The town did not spend the money during the fiscal period. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Dam Safety agreed at the time to design the project and provide necessary drawings for contractors to complete the construction.

Town workers usually need to read the data during high-flow or flood events to check the dam’s stability. However, the devices are in an area prone to flooding and workers can’t access the array during a flood. The update includes the capability to receive data via a cell network so town workers can monitor trends and the stability of the dam during flood events to ensure the structure’s safety. The new station would include a 30-watt, solar-powered array that keeps a battery charged. The array would upload data to a password-protected website accessible by town workers, the department and any consulting engineers.

The town received an $8,000 grant from the state department to complete the design with a contracted engineer. The town received three bids for the project, the lowest from Sutron for $11,249. Wodicka and the Finance Committee recommends that council appropriate $11,249 to the budget line item for the piezometers.

The town also plans to write off unpaid taxes and utility bills that it cannot collect. State law requires the town write off such bills that remain unpaid after five years. Woodstock needs to write off unpaid balances from both 2009 and 2008 because council did not do so last year, Wodicka said. The town would need to write off $11,401 in unpaid taxes and $8,095 in unpaid utility accounts from both years. Balances for both years amount to less than one half of 1 percent of the original tax levy. The town also would need to write off unpaid bills totaling about $40 from 2007. Wodicka and the committee have recommended that council authorize the write-off of the unpaid bills from the three years.

The town’s collection rate is 99.5 percent, Wodicka said, adding, “Most people pay their taxes pretty well.”

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com