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School Board Adopts Differentiated Pay Plan for 2016-17

June 11, 2016
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Ten high performing teachers in the school system will be getting a one time bonus award for coaching and mentoring other teachers under a 2016-17 differentiated pay plan adopted by the Board of Education Thursday night.

Each eligible high performing teacher who agrees to take on this assignment and meets expectations will receive up to $2,500 for a total cost to the system of $25,000 to be paid out as a one time bonus in the spring so as to not affect the teacher’s base salary. Teachers were selected on the basis of their effectiveness scores and will be coaching and mentoring level 1 teachers. The current salary schedule will be maintained with steps for experience and degree. The funding for this plan requires no additional local monies. All bonuses are pending program funding and may not occur annually.

“This is the plan we have had for two or three years and it puts the part time coaches, the academic coaches in to our schools to work with teachers that may need some assistance with classroom management or different areas on their observation. It is just a teacher to teacher mentor program. We have had it in place and I think the principals are really excited to have this in place. They (coaches) are making an impact with the other teachers,” said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade.

State legislation passed in 2007 and was updated in 2013 which mandates that school districts offer differentiated pay, which can include rewarding teachers differently based on their roles and ability to improve student outcomes. In Tennessee, “differentiated pay” means more than “pay for test scores”—it can include anything from teaching in high-need areas, to taking on new leadership roles or bonuses for increased student performance. Now, every district must decide what differentiated pay looks like for them.

Board Extends Director of Schools Contract by Two Years

June 9, 2016
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

Based on overall high marks given by the Board of Education in a recent performance evaluation, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has been awarded a two year contract extension.

Cripps, who was signed to a two year contract by the Board of Education last summer, is now scheduled to serve as director for a total of three more years through June 30, 2019

The board approved Cripps’ new deal during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting.

The results of Cripps’ evaluation shows that he is meeting “most” of the board’s expectations with an average score of 4.48 out of a possible 6.00 score.

“It means he’s met expectations. The grand total of all the categories came up to 4.48. That’s pretty impressive for someone taking on this challenge for their first year,” said Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.

During a work session prior to the board meeting Thursday evening, several board members expressed an interest in giving Cripps a pay raise along with the contract extension but Cripps said he did not want more money. Cripps' annual salary will remain at $85,000 paid in twelve equal monthly installments in accordance with the policy. All other terms of the original contract will still apply during the extension period except that Cripps’ annual evaluation will have to occur by no later than March 31 each year rather than January 31.

“We discussed his new contract during the workshop. Two things we discussed. One was the extension of a contract. We talked about a two year extension on his contract. He has asked for no increase in pay. I think that is admirable of him. I also think its an obligation we have to give him a two year extension for a total of a little bit less than three years,” added Chairman Evins.

Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson moved to make Cripps’ contract extension for two years. Board member Doug Stephens seconded the motion. Board members Danny Parkerson, Kate Miller, Shaun Tubbs, and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III all voted in favor. Board member Jim Beshearse was absent.

The contract, as adopted last summer, states that the Board shall evaluate the Director annually and shall review the Director's salary annually. In no event shall the Director's salary be reduced except as provided by law. If any adjustment in salary is made during the term of this Contract, all of the other provisions of the Contract, including its termination date, shall remain as stated herein.

Under terms of the agreement, the Board will provide a medical insurance plan for Cripps on the same terms that it is made available to other employees. The Director will be able to participate in any other insurance program offered by the Board on the same terms as any other employee of the Board.

Cripps will also be provided with an automobile and all expenses involved in said automobile for him to carry out his official duties. He may use the automobile for personal purposes not interfering with school purposes, provided he shall pay or reimburse the cost of all fuel during such use.

The Director’s year shall consist of 240 duty days of normal office hours. Vacation time should be avoided at the beginning and end of the school year. The Director serves and is on duty during regular school session. Non duty days include 10 holidays and 12 annual leave days.

Cripps shall be granted one day of sick leave for each month of contractual employment. Sick leave days shall be cumulative and unused sick leave days may be used for retirement credit in accordance with the policies of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

The evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than March 31 each calendar year (changed from January 31) during the term of the contract. The board shall review with the Director his performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationships between the Director and Board, the staff, students, and community at large; and any other matters relative to the employment of the Director.

As part of the evaluation process, by July 30 of each year, the Director will present a Strategic Plan to the Board for the upcoming school year. The plan will incorporate the results of the Director's most recent evaluation, will identify the strengths and needs of DeKalb County Schools, and will describe the Director's Plan of Action to reach the goals adopted by the Board.

The contract may be terminated by mutual agreement of the parties or due to the retirement, disability, or death of the director. It may also be terminated by the Board for cause pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in TCA, the Teacher's Tenure Act. If the Board terminates the contract for cause, the Director would be entitled to no further benefits of compensation.

The Board reserves the right to transfer the Director to any position within the system; however compensation and insurance benefits included in this agreement shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the contract as specified in Article 1. In the event the Director declines to accept the transfer, this contract shall be terminated and the Director would be entitled to no further benefits or compensation.

The Director retains any rights to tenure as a teacher that he has already acquired in the DeKalb County Schools. Even so, the Director understands and agrees that, upon the termination of his duties as Director, he will be placed in a position for which he is licensed and qualified by the Board or any subsequent director of schools. No rights to a particular position are retained by seniority or any other means, and the Board or any subsequent director of schools, as appropriate, has the sole right to determine placement. However after placement, he will return to the pay scale prior to his appointment as Director.

The Director will not hire immediate family members in new administrative roles. Prior job assignments are grandfathered.

Director Meets "Most" Expectations of School Board

June 9, 2016
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps
Results of Patrick Cripps Annual Performance Evaluation by School Board

The DeKalb County Board of Education's recent annual performance evaluation of Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has been completed and the result shows he is meeting “most” expectations of the board.

Cripps’ overall average score is 4.48 out of a possible 6 score.


Scan0005_0.pdf (343.36 KB)

In accordance with state law, the school board is required to develop and implement an evaluation plan to be used annually for the director of schools. Board members used a four page evaluation form to rate Director Cripps (1-5) in each of 60 areas from eight categories including on his relationship with the Board, the Community, Staff and Personnel, Educational Leadership, Business and Finance, Personal Qualities, Strategic Planning Skills, and Tennessee Specific questions.

A rating of "1" meant his performance was "Consistently Below Expectations". A "5" rating signified that Cripps "Met All Expectations". A rating with an asterisk (*) symbol or 6 meant he "Exceeded Expectations".

Other ratings were:
"2"-Meets Few Expectations
"3"-Meets Some Expectations
"4"-Meets Most Expectations

Each board member scored Cripps in all areas from the categories on the form. The scores were then averaged to arrive at the grand total score. The forms were then sent to officials of the Tennessee School Boards Association where the scores were tabulated and averaged.

The Director’s strengths, based on the overall report, were his personal qualities and board relationship. Weaknesses were in strategic planning skills and a category called Tennessee specific questions.

A breakdown of the scores in the eight areas of evaluation were:

Performance Goal Average

Board Relationship

Community Relationships

Staff and Personnel Relationships

Educational Leadership

Business and Finance
Personal Qualities

Strategic Planning Skills

Tennessee Specific Questions

Grand Total

The following is a further breakdown of the average score in each area of the evaluation:

Keeps all board members informed on issues needs, and operation of the school system. 4.29
Supports board policy and actions to the public and staff. 5.00
Has a harmonious relationship with the board. 5.29
Upon request, provides clear explanations of alternatives for recommendations. 4.86
Works toward creating and maintaining a high degree of understanding and respect between staff and the board. 5.14
Advises the board on need for new or revised policies. 4.71
Refrains from criticism of individual or group members of the board.5.14
Exercises good judgment and objectivity in making recommendations to the board. 5.00
Offers professional advice to the board on items requiring board action, with appropriate recommendations based on thorough study and analysis. 4.57
Understands and executes the intent of board policy. 4.71
Seeks and accepts constructive criticism of his work. 5.14
Keeps board informed in employment, promotion, and dismissal of personnel. 4.00
Average 4.82

Is an effective spokesman for the school system. 4.43
Is respected and supported by the community in conducting the operation of the schools. 4.57
Builds public support for the school district. 4.57
Solicits and involves the community in planning and problem solving for the schools. 4.29
Develops cooperative relationships with news media. 4.57
Participates actively in community life and affairs. 4.71
Achieves status as a community leader in public education. 4.71
Works effectively with public and private agencies. 4.43
Works effectively to serve the needs of diverse constituencies. 4.57
Average 4.54

Develops a good staff morale and loyalty to the organization. 4.71
Treats all personnel fairly, without favoritism or discrimination, while insisting on performance of duties. 4.86
Delegates authority to staff members appropriate to the position each holds. 4.43
Recruits and assigns the best available personnel in terms of their competencies. 4.57
Ensures that salary schedules for all personnel are competitive and within budgetary limitations of the district. 4.29
Represents the best interests of the board in working with teachers and their organizations. 5.00
Solicits input from staff in planning activities. 4.71
Maintains up-to-date job descriptions for all personnel. 3.71
Ensures that adequate planning and evaluation of curriculum and instruction occurs. 4.43
Develops and empowers staff, resulting in an effective educational team. 4.71
Average 4.54

Has a vision and communicates a mission for the school system. 4.57
Understands and keeps informed regarding all aspects of the instructional program. 5.00
Implements the school system's philosophy of education. 4.71
Participates with staff, board, and community in studying, problem solving, and developing, curriculum and instructional improvements. 4.43
Organizes a planned program of staff evaluation and improvement. 4.14
Models the highest professional standards to staff and community. 4.71
Is an effective advocate of lifelong learning. 4.71
Creates an environment which encourages staff to constantly strive for improvement. 4.57
Incorporates technology as a teaching-learning strategy. 4.36
Encourages staff to be innovative in problem-solving. 4.43
Utilizes a leadership style that is effective and fits the culture of the community. 4.57
Average 4.56

Has an understanding of the needs of the school program, plant, facilities, equipment, supplies, and the budget required. 4.29
Supervises operations, insisting on competent and efficient performance. 4.71
Ensures that funds are spent wisely, and adequate control and accounting are maintained. 4.79
Average 4.60

Defends principle and conviction in the face of pressure and partisan influence. 4.71
Maintains high standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity in all personal and professional matters. 5.00
Earns respect and standing among his professional colleagues. 4.57
Exercises good judgment and objectivity in arriving at decisions. 4.50
Maintains pose and emotional stability in the full range of his professional activities. 5.14
Speaks clearly and concisely with staff members, the board, and the public. 5.14
Writes clearly and concisely. 5.14
Keeps up-to-date with 21st Century Schooling and societal issues. 4.86
Average 4.88

Works effectively with board, staff, and community to develop both long and short range strategic plans. 4.00
Keeps board and community informed on progress towards short and long range plans. 3.93
Develops a Five Year Plan which includes strategies, goals, and projected student outcomes. 3.86
Average 3.93

Keeps board informed about rules and regulations of the Tennessee State Board of Education and all other government/state agencies. 4.43
Provides evidence to the board of effective evaluations of staff members including the Required Principal Performance Contract. 3.71
Incorporates requirements of the Educational Improvement Act (1992) into strategic plans. 3.86
Includes the five (5) components and outcomes of the system's Report Card in long and short range planning. 3.86
Average 3.97


Certified Personnel Hired for Next School Year

June 9, 2016
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has signed contracts with the 236 Professional Personnel for the 2016-17 school year.

Cripps presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Angie Anderson, Charlotte Blaylock, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kathy Bryant, Kevin Burchfield, Kelley Burgess, Britney Campbell, Amee Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Gary Caplinger, Mary Anne Carpenter, Andrew Cook, Lisa Craig, Deborah DePriest, Andrew Dixon, Brittany Dixon, Donna Emmons, Tina Fletcher, Amanda Fuller, David Gash, Josh Gulley, Sara Halliburton, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, William Jennings, Nate Kennard, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Tracy Luna, Lynus Martin, Rebecca Miller, Lori Myrick, Rolando Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Nallely Ortega-Prater, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, Leslie Parsley, Tonya Perry, John Pryor, Jane Rice, Marilyn Roberts, Melissa Ruch, Daniel Seber, Michael Shaw, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Seth Willoughby, and Sara Young.

Northside Elementary School-
Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Mollie Bratten, Linda Bush, Shanea Cantrell, Megan Carroll, Lori Chew, Allison Collier, Trent Colwell, Michael Crockett, Alisha Day, Ashley Dean, Tabitha Farmer, Danny Fish, Lindsay Floyd, Jerry Foster, Carrie Gottlied, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Melissa Hale, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Kirsten Hankel, Jennifer Herndon, Lorie Isabell, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Karen Knowles, Kristy Lasser, Lisa Mabe, Jama Martin, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Diana Moon, Elizabeth Nolt, Josh Odom, Beth Pafford, Deb Poteete, Amy Raymond, Ashley Reeves, Melissa Roysdon, Carol Sampley, Tammy Sims, Jessica Styer, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vandagriff, Kristen Van Vranken, Betsye Walker, Ginger Wenger, Jared West, and Sandy Willingham.

DeKalb West School-
Joey Agee, Jessica Antoniak, Jenny Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Sabrina Farler, Karen France, Cathleen Humphrey, Regina Kent, Nadina Manganiello, Shelia McMillen, Amanda Mullinax, Tammy Payne, Lori Pryor, Mary Ann Puckett, Cynthia Pulley, Kelly Pyburn, Jennifer Shores, Katie Stutts, Teresa Sullivan, Shelia Vanatta, Natasha Vaughn, Susan West, Cynthia Wilson, Vicki Wilson, and Amy Young.

Smithville Elementary School-
Misty Agee, Ashley Barnes, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Lindsey Bouldin, Whitney Brelje, Beth Cantrell, Tiffany Cowart, Edward Dillard, Melba Farmer, Tina Gash, Sydney Gremmels, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Tanya Howard, Kelly Huling, Ana Jarvis, Amanda Johnson, Angela Johnson, Niki Johnson, Magen Jones, Jennifer Judkins, Leah Magness, Kristen Malone, Adrienne McCormick, LeVaughnda Midgett, Leslie Moore, Lisa Neal, Macy Nokes, Allison O'Conner, Joy Parker, Layra Parker, Anita Puckett, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Allison Rigsby, Bethany Rigsby, Heather Shehane, Emily Summers, Carol Tallent, Ashlee Thomason, Janet Trapp, Carol Tripp, Julie Vincent, Tiffany Wheatley, Kristy Williams, Janet Woodward, Christie Young, Crystal Young, and Sherian Zamora.

DeKalb Middle School-
January Agee, Josh Agee, Suzette Barnes, Cassandra Binkley, Mary Ann Blair, Nancy Cowan, Amanda Dakas, Tena Davidson, Courtney Davis, Jenny Elrod, Holly Espinosa, Jason Farley, Amy Fletcher, Suzanne Gash, Lesa Hayes, Lori Hendrix, Cecilia Jenkins, Randy Jennings, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Natalie Kintz, Michael Lewis, Martha Melching, Debra Moore, Justin Nokes, Emily Phillips, Justin Poteete, Cody Randolph, Candice Scrabo, Penny Smitty, Tonya Sullivan, Laurie Sweeney, Jennifer Sykes, Kitty Thomas, Cheryl Vance, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, Kathryn Wisinger, and Alicia Wittenberg.

Central Office Staff-
Gina Arnold, Michelle Burklow, Dr. Danielle Collins, Lisa Cripps, Elise Driver, Amy Fox, Amy Lattimore, Joey Reeder, and Lori Rogers.


Peggy Sutton, resignation, Cook, SES

Talitha Looney, resignation, Cook, SES

Barbara Vanatta, resignation, Sub Cook

Tracy Robertson, resignation, Cook, DWS

Freeda Phillips, retirement, Cook, SES

Jean Hayes, retirement, Manager, SES

Roger (Ricky) Hendrix, retirement, teacher, DWS

Brian Reed, retirement, Educational Assistant, Alternative School

Melissa Peranteau, resignation, bus driver

Mary Henny, retirement, teacher, SES

Rebecca Whimpey, resigning, teacher, DMS

Doris Cantrell, retirement, teacher, DWS

Marshall Ferrell, retirement, teacher, Alt. School

School Support Staff Hired for 2016-17

June 9, 2016
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has employed the 191 support staff for the 2016-2017 school year.

The personnel report was submitted to the Board of Education during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:
Rena Adcock, Vicky Atnip, Wanda Bradford, Kathy Chapman, Tommy Clark, Kenderly Cripps, Debbie Eaton, Regina Estes, Beverly Ferrell, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Thomas Maney, Charles Martin, Marsha Martin, Paulette McDonald, Rhonda Merriman, Sara Parker, JoAnn Pittman, Denise Rutland (part time), Vicky Sandlin, Carol Swope, Norman Underhill, Danny VanDyne, Tiffanie VanWinkle, Jamie Wright, and Debbie Young.

DeKalb Middle School:
Sue Arnold, Jennifer Benton, Suzanne Caldwell, Anita Conley, Tammy Ferrell, Trena Ferrell, Fay Gilreath, Doris Graham, Jeremy Haas, Connie Haggard, Tammy Maynard, Josh Melton, Angie Moore, Lisa Norton, David Parker, Paula Pinegar, Pauletta Ruffner, Mary Sanders, Brad Trapp, Vicky Walker, and Polly Wilkins.

Smithville Elementary School:
Austin Bain (part time), Janis Barnes, Brenda Beth Cantrell, Debora Cunningham, Cindi Dias, Darlene Evans, Jennifer Gay, Betty Griffith, Margie Hale, Dan Hooper, Milinda League, Sara Lomas, Pat Milam, Tera Mooneyham, Eden Nokes, Michelle Overstreet, Holly Owens, James Owens, Rebecca Parker, Rhonda Pelham, Amelia Phillips, Lori Poss, Stephanie Reeder, Brenda Rigney, Jennifer Roller, Mary-Margaret Tripp, Tammy Tyler, and Celia Whaley.

Northside Elementary:
Pam Baines, Fay Baker, Sue Close, Evril Cubbins, Tena Edwards, Terrie Ford, Robbie Joan Frazier, Gary Good, Phyllis Hallum, Sherry Judkins, Melinda Lattimore, Sunshine Martin, Thelma Martin, Rebecca Moss, Lynn Pichey, Jo Dean Redmon, Ruby Thomason, JoAnn Vanatta, Kim Violet, Robin Warren, Deneene Willingham, and Rita Young.

DeKalb West School:
Holly Bain, Brenda Bandy, Jerry Childress, Donna Driver, Dorothy Duggin, Pauline Frazier (part time), Stephanie Fuson, Lisa Hale, Donna Hale, Julie Hale, Jennifer Martin, Mary Mathis, Linda Moser, Nancy Mulloy, Faye Nixon, Tina Paschal, Rhonda Pilgrim, Elizabeth Redmon, Kristi Sullivan, and Rena Willoughby.

County Wide Positions:
Chandra Adcock, David Bates, Chanson Boman, W.C. Braswell, Cindy Childers, Christie Colwell, Shea Colwell, Billy Curtis, Bettye June Dodd, Christie Driver, Wade Ferrell, Greg Frasier, LeAnne Frasier, Yvonne Hale, Rebecca Hawkins, Terry Hicks, Earl Jared, Freda Johnson, Rita Johnson,Tammy Judkins, Jenean Lawson, Debbie London, Deborah Magness, Shirley Mathis, April Odom, Shirley Ours, Danny Pirtle, Jr., Melissa Pirtle, Jo Dean Redmon, Joyce Robinson, Roger Sharp, Cindy Taylor, Kimberly Turner, Jamie Vickers, Judy Wiggins, Joannie Williams, and Aaron Young.

Michael Agee, Danny Bond, Dwayne Cantrell, Shannon Cantrell, Shara Cowan, Debbie Eaton, Ricky Edwards, Marshall Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Tina Fletcher, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Lynn Griffith, Orlando Guzman, Terry Hall, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Kathy Jacobs, Danny Jenkins, Dwight Knowles, Frances Lawson, Daniel Lawson, Donnie Lewis, Roy Merriman, Ronald Merriman, Linda Gail Pack,Jimmy Poss, Ashley Redmon, Myron Rhody, Jimmy Sprague, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, Bobby Taylor, B.J. Thomason, Cindy Washer, Danny Washer, and Angela Wilkerson.

Remaining Pieces of DCHS Gym Floor Available for Sale

June 8, 2016
Dwayne Page
Remaining Pieces of DCHS Gym Floor Available for Sale

The 53 year old gym floor at DeKalb County High School has been removed and a new floor is being put down.

Most of the old gym floor has already been discarded but a few planks and pieces remain. Fans who would like to have one or more may purchase them to keep as a souvenir. Prices start at $10.00 and up . Funds raised will go toward replacing the gym floor. If you are interested please call the school at 615-597-4094.

Tatrow Gets Eight Years Probation in Meth Case

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Christopher Brock Tatrow

A 26 year old man indicted on a meth charge in April was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Tuesday, June 7.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Christopher Brock Tatrow entered a plea to possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) over .5 grams and received an eight year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for time served. He was given two months of jail credit. Tatrow must also undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

The indictment against Tatrow alleged that on or about July 20, 2015 he knowingly possessed a schedule II controlled substance, to wit: Methamphetamine, in the amount of 0.5 grams or more with intent to sell or deliver such controlled substance on the grounds or facilities of any school, or within 1,000 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school, preschool, child care agency, public library, recreational center or park, constituting the offense of possession of a schedule II drug, methamphetamine, over .5 grams for sale and delivery in a drug free zone.

31 year old Edward Judkins, Jr entered a plea by criminal information to theft over $500 and received a two year sentence to serve. He must make restitution of $300 to the victim. Judkins was given jail credit from February 17 to June 7.

The indictment against him alleged that on January 27 Judkins took a 2001 Honda Civic over the value of $500 constituting the offense of theft.

20 year old Ernest Willard Dodd, Jr. entered a plea to burglary and received a four year sentence suspended to supervised probation. A theft charge against him was dismissed. The term is to run consecutive to a General Sessions violation of probation against him. Dodd must also make restitution of $9,485 to the victim. He was given jail credit of 221 days.

The case against a co-defendant, 20 year old Dustin Allen Sullivan remains pending in court.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 22, 2015 Sullivan allegedly broke into a building on Sink Creek Road and took several mechanics tools including wrenches, rachets, sockets, and pliers valued at more than $12,000. Tools from the victim's property were later found in the homes of both Sullivan and Dodd.

35 year old Shanna May Bogle entered a plea to theft of property over $1,000 and received a three year suspended sentence. She was given 279 days jail credit and must make restitution of $280 to the victim.

Fire Chief Wants City to Buy New Combo Fire Engine/Rescue Truck

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker
Fire Chief Wants to Replace 1992 Pierce Dash 1250 GPM pump truck
Fire Chief wants to Sell or Dispose of Rescue Truck
Fire Chief wants to Sell or Dispose of Cargo Van

Although the Smithville Volunteer Fire Departments fire trucks have been well maintained over the years, Chief Charlie Parker says its time to replace at least one of them because of its age.

He is asking that the city purchase a new combination fire engine/rescue vehicle to replace the fire department’s oldest fire truck, a 1992 model, as well as a 20 year old rescue truck and cargo van.

According to Chief Parker, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends that first line fire trucks be replaced within fifteen years of manufacture. “Currently our front line engine is 14 years old and our reserve or second engine is 24 years old. The NFPA and MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) recommend replacing a front line engine every 15 years and a reserve engine every 20 years. We do strive to keep our engines in good condition and make sure they pass the annual test but with any aging vehicle there are always ongoing issues to keep them in good operating shape,” he said.

Chief Parker said a new combination fire truck/rescue vehicle would be more efficient and economical and possibly require less manpower. “ We’re thinking this may be a good viable option to help us get more equipment to the scene with less personnel. It would also help us on costs because we would be maintaining fewer vehicles,” he said.

The estimated cost of a new combo fire truck/rescue vehicle is $625,000.

The new city budget includes $100,000 for a new rescue truck and $16,000 for a washer and dryer to clean the fire fighter’s turnout gear but no funds have been budgeted for a new fire truck.

Chief Parker suggested to the mayor and aldermen Monday night that the $100,000 budgeted for a new rescue truck could be used as seed money or down payment on a new combo fire engine/rescue truck either through an outright purchase or under a five or ten year lease plan. He added that even if a new combo fire truck/rescue vehicle were ordered today it would probably take seven to eleven months before it were delivered.

While the city has ample money in its general fund reserves to make such a purchase, Mayor Jimmy Poss and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson want to first apply for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Upper Cumberland Development District.

“AFG grant funds are available for vehicles and according to UCDD officials the grant filing period opens in January and they are willing to write that grant for us. They have been fairly successful for us in the past. They got us the $500,000 CDBG grant for the wastewater plant. My opinion is to shoot for something for free or a 15% match first. They will write it this fall and submit it in January,” said City Administrator Hendrixson.

Alderman Josh Miller agreed that the city should first try for a grant.

However, Chief Parker would like the city to commit toward the purchase of a new fire truck/rescue vehicle even if a grant is not approved. “ Time is not on our side. NFPA recommends having a first line apparatus within fifteen years of service. Our newest engine will be fifteen years old in 2017. The other one is twenty four years old and it will soon be considered an antique. We have to get on a replacement schedule to keep from everything needing to be replaced at once,” said Chief Parker.

Also in the city fire department fleet is a 2012 ladder truck and a pickup truck.

Smithville Poised to Again Raise DUD Water Rate

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen

The City of Smithville is again poised to raise the water rate it assesses the DeKalb Utility District.

With only a few months remaining before the DUD opens its new water treatment plant, the city plans to charge the DUD $3.00 per thousand gallons for the water it buys from the municipality starting July 1. That is up from the $2.67 per thousand gallons the city currently charges. Once DUD breaks ties, the city will lose its largest water customer and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. In the budget, the city has reduced projected revenues from the sale of water to the DUD from $765,000 for the year ending June 30, 2016 down to $400,000 for half the year in 2016-17. City officials say such a loss of income may eventually force the city to look at ways of cutting spending or raising new revenues to make up the difference.

The new rate to the DUD is included in the 2016-17 budget ordinance adopted on first reading by the aldermen Monday night. The vote was 3 to 0. Two aldermen were absent.

But does the new rate violate a court order?

In February, 2014 Chancellor Ronald Thurman ordered the City to reduce its water rate to the DUD from $5.00 down to $2.67 per thousand gallons, which a water study found in 2013 was the city’s actual cost to produce water at the time.

Following a two hour hearing in Cookeville, Chancellor Thurman granted a DUD motion for a temporary injunction barring the city from continuing to impose its $5.00 rate until the city gave proper notice to DUD and justification for raising the rate above $2.67 per thousand gallons.

During that hearing, the Court found that the city violated Section 18-502 of the Smithville City Code, which required the City of Smithville to give the DeKalb Utility District 30 days' notice in advance of a rate change. The City of Smithville gave the DUD only 16 days' actual notice in advance of the rate change. The Chancellor also found that the city had not given proper justification for arriving at the $5.00 rate.

In an effort to remedy the notification issue in the future, the aldermen voted in March 2014 to abolish the 1980 ordinance, which set the rate to the DUD at that time and also provided that a 30 day notice would be given the DUD if the city were to modify the rate.

City officials say the proposed rate hike now is based on the utility engineers recommendation. But the new $3.00 per thousand gallon rate would not take effect until July 1 and is subject to passage of the budget ordinance on second and final reading at a special meeting of the mayor and aldermen on June 28.

Pay Raises, Sanitation Truck, New Police Officer Position, Sewer Plant Rehab Included in New City Budget

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Three Aldermen

The new budget for the City of Smithville includes pay raises for employees, a new sanitation truck, the addition of a new full time officer in the police department to help cut down on overtime, matching funds to replace the Holmes Creek Bridge, street paving including on the public square, new equipment for the fire department, and an upgrade of the waste water treatment plant, among other projects.

The aldermen voted 3-0 Monday night to adopt the new $6.6 million budget ordinance on first reading. Second and final reading action will come at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 28 at city hall. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Gayla Hendrix voted for the budget. Aldermen Danny Washer and Jason Murphy were absent.

Under the new budget, city hourly and salaried employees will get a 3% pay raise except for any police officers who are due to get an increase in pay under the department’s wage scale for all hourly employees. However the police department wage scale, which has been an eight step plan, will stop at six steps hereafter. The last two steps are being eliminated to keep police department salaries from getting too far out of line with other city workers.

In an effort to reduce overtime within the police department, the city is changing the officers shift schedules and creating a new full time officer position. With the new hire, the police department will have fourteen full time members including the chief, captain, one lieutenant/investigator, two sergeants, an investigator, and eight full time officers, plus two clerks.

The city is also increasing its contribution to Justin Potter Library from $500 to $5,000.

General Fund Capital outlay projects for 2016-17 total $692,000 including the following:

*Fire Department equipment- $116,000

*New sanitation truck and trash containers- $350,000 (unspent from 2015-16 year)

*Street Department-Holmes Creek Bridge Project & Unspecified- $60,000

*Police Department Car & Unspecified- $30,000

*New Animal Shelter- $75,000 (unspent from 2015-16 year)

*Airport: Taxiway Initial Design & Unspecified- $20,000 (Mostly funded by grants)

*City Hall Building (Unspecified)- $25,000

*Public Works-Buildings & Grounds (Unspecified)- $5,000

*Parks and Recreation- $5,000

*Financial Administration- $1,000


State Street Aid: Paving-$350,000

Water and Sewer projects including the following:

*Sewer Plant Rehabilitation- $2,750,000

*Tube Settlers for Water Plant- $40,000



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