Grantville mayor critical of water line project
by W. Winston Skinner
Plans to run water lines to homes on Meriwether Street just outside Grantville created a series of actions this week, but the project ultimately proceeded.
Several weeks ago, the Grantville City Council approved plans to run water lines and place hydrants on the street. The street is in Meriwether County outside the town limits, but has no access on to water service from Meriwether County.
On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Sells sent an email instructing City Manager Johnny Williams to “stop all efforts to put water lines and fire hydrants down Meriwether Street.” Sells said he had learned Councilman Barham Lundy “owns a nightclub on that street.”
Sells said Lundy voted for the extension of the water lines without disclosing he owns property there. “This is a clear violation of disclosure laws,” the mayor stated.
“We have been asked to use City of Grantville money to run water and fire hydrants outside the city, outside the county to a councilman's business and it was never disclosed,” he stated. “No contracts will be signed, no checks will be issued until our city attorney has completed an investigation.”
The following day, Police Chief Doug Jordan said in an email that City Attorney Mark Mitchell had informed Sells that his concerns did not constitute “a valid claim to stop the project from going ahead.”
Lundy declined to comment directly on Sells’ allegations. “That was his opinion. He was entitled to his opinion,” Lundy said.
Lundy did say the council’s minutes would show his involvement as being very minimal with regard to the water request. He also said his business is not an issue with regard to the water lines.
“I don’t need the water. I have water. If I didn’t have water, I couldn’t have a business,” he said.
There is a great need for water for drinking — and for fire protection — on Meriwether Street, he said.
Residents there already purchase electricity from Grantville. There has been some water service there — beginning with a private line run some 55 years ago. Lundy said Peter Ellis, Bob Hines and George Stokes owned property on the street at that time and paid to have a private line from Grantville’s system run into Meriwether County.
“There’s a need to provide them services. Even though these people are not in Coweta County, there’s still a need,” he said.