Jasper, Tenn. – As infamously scarce in the marketplace as many electronic components have been affecting car production and the availability of many popular home products, the Town of Jasper learned they might be victim to the supply chain issues in a different way. The Jasper Water Plant has historically inserted fluoride in the water supply as many water systems nationwide do. However, plant Manager Dwight Perry brought to the Board’s attention a concern over the diminishing availability of the present granular fluoride which the plant uses. Perry said there were different quantity bags and canisters that have allowed him to keep levels where they historically have remained. Still, he was concerned that the suppliers were gravitating away from granular fluoride and sticking with a more widely used liquid fluoride.
The change would require some fundamental changes to the current distribution infrastructure. However, the Board saw this changeover as inevitable following Perry’s presentation. Currently, the exceeds state minimums for fluoride insertion for plants that declare the additive. Perry acknowledged he could scale back the initial insertion amount. Still, the state testing requirements include several points of sampling, and Perry expressed awareness that the samples from the furthest points in the distribution would be the deciding factor as far as how long the plant could make the known supply last. That said, Perry had sourced several different sources to keep the water quality high for the next several weeks. Conceptually, the Board was in agreement with making a changeover and consented to have the Town’s engineering firm get started on the design work immediately to modify to the more widely available liquid fluoride. Additionally, the Board approved converting the current radio monitoring equipment of the water system to fiberoptic connection for increased reliability and speed. The just over $20,000 cost was expected to be covered by the infrastructure federal money that the Town received.
The Board also agreed to hire Rudy Honea for a full-time water employee position after a recent employee left for another job. The Board also acted on Police Chief Billy Mason’s recommendation to formally add Justin Graham to the part-time police officer roster. Several local departments hire officers from other departments to help control overtime costs if a full-time officer takes a vacation or is out sick. The addition of Graham follows the recent hiring of Nathan Smith, who was serving as a part-time officer for Jasper, by the 12th Judicial Violent Crime and Drug Task Force. Mason felt having Graham installed on the roster would prevent coverage questions moving forward.
The Board also consented to a stipulation of receiving funding through the American Rescue Plan, which recently passed through the US Legislature. Jasper’s qualifying amount was just over $111,000, according to Mayor Jason Turner. The acceptance of the funds included establishing a separate bank account for the funds. The new account will share the same access restrictions as the Town’s current accounts.
The Town of Jasper formally accepted the proposed trade between the Town of Jasper and Marion County. The Town currently has property between Industrial Boulevard and the county’s landfill, which has been configured for a shooting range. The intention of the range is for local law enforcement departments to have a more logistic-friendly location to complete mandatory, annual firearm certification. The range property was proposed to be traded to the county in exchange for a vacant lot on the courtyard square in downtown Jasper. The advantages presented along the way included the county administrating the firing range and the Town would be able to convert the lot into a small park.
Mayor Jason Turner thanks several of the Town’s departments for assisting with the Christmas activities on December 3. Activities ran throughout the day and were capped off with the annual Christmas Parade. Library Director Karen Strain reminded the Board that the Carolyn Stewart Library in Jasper was still holding both an in-person storytime hour on Wednesdays as well as a virtual storytime hour on Fridays. Strain also announced that the library will be accepting the administration of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program from the United Way of Greater Chattanooga starting in 2022. Strain projected that the library would ultimately accept the financial administrative duties in the future, but emphasized that the program was funded through the Imagination Library program and would not affect the library’s budget from the Town’s standpoint.
The next regularly scheduled monthly meeting is January 10 at 6 p.m. at the town annex, located at 700 Phillips Avenue.
*Original article online at https://www.mcnewstn.com/articles/jasper-board-addresses-potential-supply-chain-residual-fallout/