Frankford discusses refreshed bids for water tower care

The Town of Frankford held a workshop earlier this month to discuss the repair of its 125,000-gallon elevated water tower.

“We have to do something,” said Council President Joanne Bacon at a June 15 workshop. “The main thing is how are we going to pay for this? I think that’s going to be a huge question.”

The Town sought updated proposals for the work from two national companies based on the East Coast.

In March, representatives of Southern Corrosion, based in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., visited the town and inspected the water tower. The company handles maintenance and repair for all Artesian tanks. Their estimated cost was $111,000, which includes pressure washing the exterior of the tank, cleaning rusted areas, painting it and sterilizing the tank’s interior.

Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co. of Henderson, Ky. also provided a refreshed bid of more than $180,000 for work to the tank; however, they did not visit the site.

Councilwoman Velicia Melson asked if neighboring towns with their own water towers, such as Bethany Beach, Millsboro and Dagsboro, had been contacted to ask who they have contracted for such services.

Resident Jerry Smith asked the council if the repairs to the water tower are urgent.

“I think it’s urgent that we get it done,” said Bacon.

Smith said that, while he understands the water tower needs to be taken care of, he was unclear from the proposals presented to Town if the integrity of the tower was compromised to the point where work needed to be done as soon as possible.

“I think, Jerry, we need to be more proactive than reactive,” Bacon responded.

The council requested that Town Administrator Terry Truitt provide the two estimates to engineer Steve Lewandowski of CABE Associates for his comment and recommendation.

Smith also recommended that Lewandowski do a comparison of the two estimates and the scope of work, to see what, if any, difference there is between the two proposals.

Bacon said the Town has received $10,000 from a Sussex County Economic Development grant.

“It’s probably too late to look to our legislators for any money,” she said, noting the Town may need to hold a referendum if it seeks to borrow money to pay for the repairs.

Bacon said it is also important that the Town hire an attorney prior to making their final decision.

The Town is currently advertising to fill its vacant town solicitor position and hopes to have applicants by the July 6 council meeting.

Councilman Charles Shelton agreed that action needed to be taken, as previous councils have discussed the needed repair and maintenance but taken no action.

“The more we wait, the worse we are.”

Bacon said she hopes to have a response from Lewandowski by the next council meeting.

Also at the workshop, council members were provided with a draft employee handbook composed by Bacon. She requested they review it and stated that another workshop would be held to discuss the handbook.