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Water tower paint job high-priced option

By Michael Butler

$546,000. It will pay for a lot of things. You can purchase a very nice home, maybe even lakefront property. You can get a handful of luxury cars and probably have change to spare. And, you can paint a water tank.

Tallassee has several water towers that are prevalent throughout the city limits, but none are probably as noticeable as the one that stands downtown with a "Tallassee Tiger" painted across the top. The tiger is starting to fade.

"That's one estimate," said mayor Johnny Hammock of the half-million dollar price tag. "We'll get to that when we can get to that."

Is Billy Bob available? "He wrote Billy Bob loves Charlene in letters three foot high." Yes, those are the lyrics to "John Deere Green" by Joe Diffie.

"$546,000 is to paint it without any design," Hammock noted. "It's more than just painting it. You've got to blast, sand stuff down and it's pretty detailed."

Water towers with city and town names in block and script fonts, some with team mascots are a part of Americana. They identify spots on the map. Sometimes that's what people remember when travelling from town to town.

"All these places like Central Elmore Water, Friendship Water and Wall Street Water that have new tanks and keep their stuff painted, they haven't had any politics involved. Let's call it what it is. It's very hard when a city owns its own utilities. Look at Tallassee. They went 20 years without a water/sewer increase. Unfortunately politicians don't want to vote to increase a utitlity rate because they're scared it will upset the apple cart. They might not get re-elected."

Hammock said he would like to see the revenues go back into the system where it was derived.

"We're doing a utility study. We're going to have to gradually get to the point where we're breaking even and charging a little over with that not funding something else."

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