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By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó A $4,200 software package could, over the long term, save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars on its water bills.
Aldermen agreed Tuesday night to a recommendation from Utilities Director Kent Mishak to purchase the software and put it to work.
Mishak said the software will be a lot more efficient than his efforts to monitor and control various elements of the town’s water flow.
The goal will remain the same ó use no more than 300,000 gallons a day from the city of Salisbury ó unless it’s needed.
China Grove has three wells that Mishak said can produce 200,000 gallons a day.
He said the cost of the well water is about $1.60 to $1.70 per 1,000 gallons, about half of what the town pays Salisbury.
Mishak said he has been monitoring the system almost 24 hours a day, trying to cut off the Salisbury water when it hits 300,000 gallons and turn on the wells.
A lot of other elements figure into the stew. Water tanks have mechanisms that trigger water flow and the wells are on timers.
Mishak said sometimes his best efforts don’t work. For example, he noted that he didn’t anticipate Hitachi shutting down for two weeks during the holidays.
In December, the town’s total water usage ran between 245,000-255,000 gallons a day ó under the required purchase from Salisbury.
If the town’s water usage increases to average 500,000 gallons a day, the town could save $100,000 a year.
Alderman unanimously approved purchasing the software, which should be installed within a month. The funds will come from the utilities budget.
Bill Pless, acting town manager, said China Grove water customers are apparently heeding Gov. Mike Easley’s call for water conservation, although the town has no restrictions.
Mayor Don Bringle said he has received some indication from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities that they may reduce the volume of water the town has to purchase due to the statewide conservation effort.
Bringle said it wasn’t a promise, but he said Matt Bernhardt, assistant city manger for utilities, said they are looking at it.
In other matters, the board heard information or acted as follows:
– Heard a plea from Elijah Collier of Yost Road to stop citing him for having an illegal mobile home.
Collier said he has received 15 citations from the town’s code enforcement. Collier said he has used the former mobile home as a tool house since 1999. “It has no axles, no tongue, no water, no nothing. It’s a tool house.”
– Police Chief Hodge Coffield said he has never recommended and doesn’t favor a yield sign at an intersection on Railroad Avenue. Coffield said his remarks were incorrectly printed in the Post last month.
“Nobody asked me about it until today,” said Coffield.
Pete Kluttz, 908 Railroad Ave., who has asked the town to replace the stop sign with a yield sign at several previous meetings, disagreed with Coffield, saying that at the December meeting, the chief had said “I don’t see why it can’t be.”
On a different subject, Kluttz noted the town spent thousands of dollars to buy a lot to provide parking near the Little League ballfield. Kluttz said the season is nearing and the parking lot isn’t ready.

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