Howell with Holiday Inn Express spoke to the Winona Board of Aldermen last week about the low water pressure at the hotel and its effect on guests. She said since August 22, water pressure drops to as low as seven pounds of pressure four or five times each day.
“Guests cannot take showers or flush the toilet,” Howell said.
Howell said the hotel has undergone major renovations and the building’s plumbing has been upgraded. In addition, they purchased their own pump to assist in getting higher pressure, however, the pump has not been installed because water pressures are too low from the city lines.
“Holiday Inn [corporate] is very concerned about our guest surveys,” Howell said.
She explained that the hotel is very busy, and the problem with water pressure has caused guests to move to other hotels in other cities.
“We are having to find guests a new hotel in Grenada,” Howell said. “If they go there, we don’t get them back.”
Howell said the corporate office is even “threatening to pull [the Holiday Inn Express] flag” from the hotel.
“If we lose that flag, it is going to be a big loss for the city,” Howell said.
Winona Water Superintendent Frank Faulkner told the board that at first he thought there was a water leak in the area, but after a lengthy search, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“Someone is using a whole lot of water,” Faulkner said. “There will be 75 pounds [of pressure] and then go to nothing. The pumps are running wide open. On our part, everything is pumping like it is supposed to.”
Alderman Mickey Austin explained to Howell that the city is working to dig a new water well and construct another elevated water tank in that area, however, those measures are going to take time.
“I have the same thing at my house,” Austin said. “This morning, we had no water.”
Austin told Howell that the city will find a temporary solution to the water pressure problem until the well and tank are completed.
In other business, the board of aldermen approved a bond resolution in the amount of $1.2 million to install artificial turf at the Winona Recreational Park and purchase equipment for the city’s road department.
According to City Attorney Ray Baum, if the city plans to do a bond issue, which is a loan based on the sale of municipal bonds, “you want to do all the things you need to do.”
“The resolution is very broad,” Baum said. “The cost estimate to repay the loan is around $74,000 for 10 years.”
The artificial turf project will cost the city $593,971, and the city will use funds formerly earmarked to pay off park lighting at $30,000 annually to go toward the new bond payments. Also, a portion of the two percent tourism tax allocated to parks and tourism will go toward the payment.
Baum said the bond resolution, which is the first step in the bond process, needs to include everything the city needs because “you can’t raise it up once you do it. There are expenses with a bond issue, and you don’t want to do it twice.”
The board approved running the resolution of intent in the newspaper and will hold a public hearing about the matter at a later date.