Ash Flat could connect to the Fulton County Water supply, free of charge, to help in case of disaster.
At the May 19 Ash Flat City Council meeting, Jerry Estes of the Fulton County Water Association told the council that the association is ending its phase three project and still has grant funding left.
Estes suggested those remaining funds be used to connect the rural water supply to Ash Flat's supply. The lines are located "pretty much across the road" from one another, he said.
Estes said it would benefit each provider to be connected to the other supply in case of emergency. Estes said when the association put in phase one of the water system, he thinks it was originally intended to tie in to Ash Flat.
"I personally think it's a good idea ... I've always been in favor of tying together," Alderman Jeral Lesley said, adding that when the Feb. 5 tornado hit Ash Flat it could have easily affected the city's water supply. The tornado damaged the city's sewer system.
Estes said if the rural supply needed to access Ash Flat's supply his company would provide a pump to fill their tank. In addition, if either side needed to access the other's water, they would be charged a set price per gallon that would be agreed upon ahead of time.
If the city allowed Fulton County to connect, no one could obtain water from the other party unless both parties agreed. Estes said if either side needed water he would expect that the water would be drawn at night when the demand is the lowest.
Estes said Fulton County Water has one well and is also tied in to Salem's water supply but has never used it.
He also said he doesn't expect to need to use Ash Flat's water. He said the system lost water for 36 hours a year ago and never ran out of water for its residents.
Water and Sewer Superintendent Tracy Breckenridge said the city's system is at "the make or break point" right now. He said if the city allows Fulton County to connect, Grange-Calamine may also want to connect to the city.
"If we get hit by a tornado, it's insurance Ash Flat is going to have water," Lesley said.
No action was taken. The aldermen are to review the issue and discuss it again at the June council meeting.
Alderman Carolyn Estes thanked Fulton County for assisting after the tornado.
In other business, the council unanimously agreed to hire Regan Nicholson and Danny Grant as the city's newest employees. It has not yet been determined whether the employees will be full-time or part-time. The council interviewed the two men separately along with three others during an executive session.
The council agreed to accept applications for one full-time and one part-time employee for the city during the May council meeting. The decision was made after the city opened six bids for mowing service for the Ash Flat Ball Park and surrounding properties. The bids varied in price from $9,450 to $29,250.
Mayor Danny Traw said the current program which allows two young men to work for the city after school is ending.
The council unanimously approved a bid from Cushman Electric and Mechanical Inc. of Evening Shade for a four-ton heating and cooling unit for the police and fire departments. Of the three bids received by area businesses, Cushman submitted the lowest bid at $10,399.
The council also approved a $3,000 a year pay increase for firefighter Jared Allen. Allen has taken on extra duties with the city including training and teaching. The increase will become effective during the next pay period.