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December 20--  The Lyons Mayor and City Council held a work session Tuesday night to discuss options regarding upgrades to the city's wastewater treatment plants.

Even though the city has been approved for a $14.8 million federal loan to increase the capacity of its North plant and to upgrade its East plant, the lowest bid for the North plant is about $3 million dollars more than the loan amount and an estimated $2 million more would be needed for the East plant, according to city manager Jason Hall.

Councilman Rick Hartley estimated upgrading the North plant's equipment without a major expansion of capacity would increase its efficiency and generate an additional 200,000 gallons per day in capacity.  He said that might be enough to attract some new industry to the industrial park north of Lyons.

CLARIFICATION:  City manager Jason Hall sent us a clarification to the above paragraph:

"I just wanted to help clarify this statement a little.  Rick did mention capacity of 200,000 gallons per day.  However, that is the approximate excess capacity at the plant today, not after any work on the plant. 

There is an ongoing perception that the City cannot handle any new industry in the Lyons Industrial park. 

That is definitely not true.  In the past 16 months, the Development Authority has received interest from two prospects that were very satisfied with the amount of water and sewer treatment available to them.  However, there were issues with natural gas, educated workforce, and tax abatement.  I hope this helps clear the air about sewer capacity in Lyons."

The county has a new "spec" building in the park which is sitting vacant and needs more wastewater treatment capacity to make it competitive to some industries like food processors who require large amounts of wastewater treatment.

The council plans to meet again in January.  In the meantime, the city's engineering consultant, Hofsteader and Associates, is continuing to work with the contractor to see if costs can be reduced.  Hall was authorized to pay $500,000 to Hofsteader for work on the project thus far.

A street project the city is considering is also $300,000 over budget and its scope is being reexamined prior to the meeting in January.

Sunday Sales of Alcohol Now in Effect

The council okayed an amendment to the city ordinance authorizing the Sunday sale of alcohol in retail stores and by the drink.  Effective immediately in Lyons, Sunday sales are authorized starting at 12:30 p.m.

In other actions, the council okayed a 10.2% increase in workers compensation insurance premiums and granted a 1.6% increase to Republic Services for trash pickup in the city.

It passed a proclamation regarding the city's participation in the Greater Promise Partnership to encourage workforce development in Toombs County and thanked retiring council members Wayne Hartley and Charles "Spec" Nobles for their service.

New Officers Recognized

Police Chief Wesley Walker introduced three new Lyons police officers and commended them for their performance at the state Police Academy which he likened to military basic training.

lyonscadetcops(L-R) Officer Tyler Wimpey, Officer Cory McCoy and Officer Ken Patel. 

Wimpey won the Police Academy "Top Gun" award for weapons qualification while McCoy was the "Top Cadet" in the class, class president and fastest on the physical fitness obstacle course.