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Chamber of Commerce Seeks More Financial Support from City

September 21, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is asking for more financial support from the City of Smithville.

Tim Hintz, Chamber President, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night asking that the city double it's annual contribution to the chamber from $5,000 to $10,000. "It will help to fill our budget. Some of her ( Chamber Director Suzanne Williams') time is spent trying to raise money like for the Chamber banquet, the Prayer Breakfast, and things like that just to fill the budget. Our members pay dues but that doesn't pay for everything we do so we're asking for your help. In my opinion, this is a good investment in the future and it'll be returned with increased business which increases taxes and funding for the city."

The county has already doubled it's annual appropriation to the Chamber from $10,000 to $20,000.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said he wanted to see a copy of the Chamber budget before the city acts on the request.

Hintz said the Chamber would comply. The issue will probably be raised again at the next regular meeting on October 4th.

Meanwhile, in other business Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant reported that the city has received a 100% funded grant in the amount of $25,000 through the Governor's Highway Safety Office for traffic enforcement. Officer Bryant said the money will be used to fund a speed trailer, car camera systems, light bars, and more than $11,000 to compensate for overtime of officers. The aldermen voted to accept the grant.

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson appointed Hilton Conger to fill the unexpired term of the late Dr. W.E. Vanatta on the Smithville Electric System Board. The term expires June 30th, 2012. The aldermen approved the appointment.

Smithville Police Officers David Phillips and James Cornelius, who have completed their sixty day probationary period, were hired by the aldermen Monday night.. Officer Phillips was put to work on June 21st and Officer Cornelius went to work on July 1st. Both have been earning $11.71 cents per hour and their pay will increase to $13.09 cents per hour. Both are full time certified police officers.

Alderman and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks was very complimentary of these two men "These two gentlemen have made excellent officers and I think we have really done a great job in employing them and I think they will make our community proud."

Bradley Barrett, an employee of the sanitation department, has completed his sixty day probationary period. He was hired on June 18th. His current pay rate is $10.66 per hour but will increase to $11.03 per hour. The aldermen voted to hire him.

Farron Hendrix, doing business as Smithville Golf Management LLC has given notice to the mayor and aldermen of his intention to terminate the lease agreement with the city to operate the municipal golf course and swimming pool, effective October 23rd.

Mayor Hendrixson read Hendrix's letter during Monday night's meeting. "Smithville Golf Management, LLC entered into the lease with the intent to improve and maintain a beautiful city asset for the benefit of the citizens of Smithville, our school and community golf leagues, and to attract visitors and industry to our community. We also entered into the lease, not for personal gain, but with the hopes of maintaining the golf club as a non-profit entity. However, due to the downturn in the economy, extreme weather conditions, increased competition from surrounding courses, and increased expenses, we can no longer manage this city property at our own personal expense."

"We are very proud of the many improvements that we have made during our lease agreement; improved fairways, additional tee boxes, new trees, cleaner pond, refurbished sprinkler system, and updated facilities, just to name a few. However, our tax records prove that we have lost and continue to lose money each year in the management of the property. Therefore, it is with regret that we terminate our lease agreement with this sixty day notice."

Hendrix goes on to state in the letter that the Smithville Golf Management, LLC is willing to sell equipment and supplies to the city at a reduced assessed value for continued management of the golf club. He adds "Smithville Golf Management, LLC also agrees to assist the city in the management of the golf club until the new management can be secured."

Basically, the city has two options: To re-bid the lease of the golf course and swimming pool to someone else; or the city could assume control of the operation and hire someone to manage it.

Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Steve White and Mayor Hendrixson said they have already been contacted by those wanting to put in a bid to lease the facility, but Alderman Steve White suggested that the city contact the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Recreation Educational Services Division first to see what grant opportunities are available to improve the golf course and pool operation, as well as other city owned parks and recreation areas before taking action on the future of the golf course.

Mayor Hendrixson appointed a committee made up of Aldermen Steve White, W.J.(Dub) White, and Aaron Meeks to join him in setting up a meeting with whoever the state sends here to tour the city's parks and learn more about what funding sources are available to improve and possibly expand the city's existing recreational areas.

Last year, the aldermen gave Smithville employees who have worked for the city ten years or longer a total of three weeks of paid vacation. Monday night, Alderman Steve White made a motion that these employees be allowed to exercise an option of receiving pay for that third week during Christmas time "If they do not want to use that week for vacation."

Mayor Hendrixson said the action would have to be done as an ordinance amendment. That issue will be bought back up at the next meeting.

Beising Gets Pre-Trial Diversion in Child Neglect, Drug, and theft Cases

September 20, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jamie Lee Beising

A 21 year old DeKalb County woman, arrested in April for child neglect, and later indicted in a drug round up by the Sheriff's Department, was granted pre-trial diversion in Criminal Court Monday.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

Jamie Lee (Wagner) Beising, indicted on charges of child neglect, one count of conspiracy to sell and deliver a schedule II drug, and one count of theft under $500, will be on Tennessee Department of Corrections supervised probation for a period of two years under a memorandum of understanding, pre-trial diversion. Under terms of the agreement, she must make restitution to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in the amount of $160, complete an alcohol and drug assessment and follow all recommendations, and perform 100 hours of community service.

In August, Beising was indicted on a charge of child neglect. The indictment alleged that "On or about the 11th day of April, Beising did knowingly neglect a child under six years of age, so as to adversely affect the child's health and welfare constituting the offense of child neglect."

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday, April 10th, a deputy was dispatched to the residence of Beising, who lived on Old Snow Hill Road in Dowelltown, in answer to a complaint of an unattended child who was left in the home. The child's mother, Beising, reportedly returned about fifteen minutes after the deputy arrived.

According to Sheriff Ray, the officer entered the residence and was horrified to find loose trash, piles of dirty diapers, rat waste on uneaten food, mold in the refrigerator, flies and maggots throughout the home and in a bedroom where the child slept was loose trash piled up even with the bed.

The Department of Children's Service was called to assist in the case and the child was removed from the mother's care.

Shortly after being arrested in the child neglect case, Beising found herself in trouble with the law again, after being named in a sealed indictment by the April term of the grand jury charging her with conspiracy to sell and deliver a schedule II drug and one count of theft under $500. The charges were the result of an undercover drug investigation by the sheriff's department. Beising was among 64 people in the drug round-up.

In other cases Monday in Criminal Court, 48 year old Jeffery Owen Smithson pleaded guilty to arson and received a three year sentence. He was given credit for time served and will be on probation for the balance of the sentence. Smithson must make restitution and stay away from the victims in the case. He was given jail credit of 432 days from July 15th, 2009 to September 20th, 2010.

31 year old Jack Mullican pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and received a two year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other, but all suspended to time served. Mullican has been given jail credit of twenty seven days and he has applied for judicial diversion probation. Mullican must make restitution of $290 to the victim and pay $150 to the economic crime fund. All other charges against him are to be dropped upon payment of restitution and reinstatement of his drivers license

28 year old Jonathon Goff pleaded guilty to introduction of contraband into a penal institution. He received a three year sentence, all suspended to time served. He will be on TDOC probation. Goff was given jail credit from January 1st, 2010 to September 20th, 2010

50 year old Marti Annette Compton, charged with sale and delivery of a schedule III and IV controlled substance and violation of the drug free school zone, was granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. She will be on TDOC probation and must perform thirty hours of community service work

63 year old Sandra C. Heath, charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. She will be on TDOC probation.

20 year old Stephen Michael Kennedy, charged with manufacture of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) was granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. He will be under the supervision of TDOC probation and he must perform thirty hours of community service

Leslie B. Bailey, charged with drug offenses, was also granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. She will be on TDOC probation and must perform fifty hours of community service.

34 year old Tracie H. Godsey pleaded guilty to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to probation. She was also fined $250.

DCHS Band Takes First in Class at Hendersonville Golden Marching Invitational

September 20, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Band

The DeKalb County High School Band competed in the Hendersonville Golden Marching Invitational on Saturday and earned several top honors.

The band competed in "Class D", the smallest class and won first place in class. In addition, the band received first place awards for "Best Percussion", "Best Horn Line", and "Best Color Guard" in class

The band placed 7th in the small division (class d and the bigger class c), beating out a few of the larger bands.

The DCHS Fighting Tiger Band will perform during the Homecoming Day parade Friday afternoon on the public square and during halftime of the football game Friday night.

The next competition will be Saturday, October 2nd at the Blue Devil Invitational

Mother Charged with Harboring Runaway

September 20, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michelle Lee Culwell
 Katrina Jo LaLiberte
Sharon Kay Skinner
Russell Shannon Estes
 Keith Gordon Saliski
Billy D. Ferrell

A DeKalb County mother is charged with harboring a runaway after allegedly trying to hide her son who ran away from the Indian Mound Home for boys earlier this month.

31 year old Michelle Lee Culwell of Parsley Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and hiding and harboring a juvenile child. She is under a $6,000 bond and she will be in court October 7th.

Culwell's son, who is in state custody, ran away from the Indian Mound Home for boys on Wednesday, September 1st. On Saturday, September 18th, a deputy saw the boy in an automobile with his mother, Ms. Culwell on Highway 56 south near Mystik Market.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Ms. Culwell was the operator of the vehicle seen leaving Mystik Market heading northbound on Highway 56 south. Upon getting the vehicle stopped, the juvenile jumped out and ran. Sheriff Ray says his mother knew that he was a runaway and she had been hiding him.

The deputy arrested Culwell for harboring a runaway and a check of her license found them to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Hamilton County.

Meanwhile in another case, 52 year old Katrina Jo LaLiberte of Circle Drive, Dowelltown was arrested on Monday, September 13th and charged with reckless endangerment and public intoxication. Her bond is $4,500 and her court date is September 30th.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy was called to investigate a vandalism at a residence on Hunt Hollow Road. LaLiberte had allegedly fire rounds from a 22 caliber pistol at the victim's vehicle causing him to fear for his safety.

Upon arrival, the officer found a female (LaLiberte) on the porch wearing only a shirt and underpants. She was very unsteady on her feet and she had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. She was so intoxicated that the officer had to pick her up and put her in the patrol car. The deputy took the weapon and placed her under arrest.

34 year old Sharon Kay Skinner of Sparta Highway, Smithville was arrested on Wednesday, September 15th on a warrant charging her with violation of community corrections. She was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Skinner is under a $1,500 bond on the drug charge and she will appear in court October 7th. She is being held without bond on the other offense pending a court hearing today (Monday).

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was summoned to Wal-mart after another officer called him to report that Skinner was there. The officer was aware that Skinner had active warrants against her. Upon arrival and speaking to Skinner, the deputy placed her under arrest and found four syringes in a purse during a search of Skinner's person.

31 year old Russell Shannon Estes of Kendra Drive, Smithville was arrested on Thursday, September 16th and charged with a second offense of driving under the influence Estes is under a $3,000 bond and his court date is September 30th.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy responded to Highway 56 south to check out an oncoming vehicle in which the driver was possibly intoxicated. Having received a description, the deputy spotted the automobile and then he got behind it. While following the vehicle, the officer witnessed it almost run off the roadway once and at one point, the automobile completely ran off the roadway. At this time, the deputy activated his lights and stopped the vehicle. While speaking to the driver, Estes, the officer noticed his speech to be slurred. He was asked to step out of the vehicle and perform several field sobriety tasks. Estes was very unsteady on his feet but he submitted to the tests and performed poorly. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test.

35 year old Keith Gordon Saliski of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is charged with vandalism. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on September 30th.

Sheriff Ray says on Sunday, September 19th, a deputy responded to a residence on High Street in Alexandria to take down a report of a vandalism. The complainant reported that a man named Keith had broken the glass to his storm door. The deputy then went to another residence where he found Saliski. While speaking with him, Saliski admitted to going to the victim's residence, throwing a large rock, and breaking the glass to the door.

22 year old Billy D. Ferrell of R. Arnold Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence, evading arrest, and resisting arrest stop, frisk, and halt. His bond is $6,500 and he will be in court on October 7th.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was called to check out a domestic complaint on Sunday, September 19th in which a woman with a small child was in a car with her boyfriend but he wouldn't let her out of the vehicle.

The officer spotted the vehicle, driven by Ferrell, coming toward him on R. Arnold Road. The deputy activated his blue lights and Ferrell stopped. Ferrell then put his car in reverse and backed up at a high rate of speed. The deputy noticed a woman and child in the back seat of Ferrell's car. After backing up, Ferrell turned into the graveled driveway of his residence and pulled in behind a trailer, stopped in a tree line, got out and fled on foot.

After a long foot pursuit, the deputy caught up with Ferrell, but he continued trying to resist arrest, failing to comply with orders to put his hands behind his back or to get on the ground.

The deputy, upon placing Ferrell in custody, noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Ferrell submitted to a blood alcohol test. He admitted to drinking and taking hydrocodone.

Malone Wins New Term in DTC Director Election

September 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Four Directors of DTC Communications Re-Elected

Robert Don Malone of the Temperance Hall exchange won re-election to the DTC Communications Board of Directors Saturday beating challenger Todd S. Perry.

Malone received 364 votes (77.94%) and Perry garnered 103 votes (22.06%)

The other three incumbent directors up for re-election all won without opposition including Roy N. Pugh from the Auburntown exchange with 333 votes; James H. Dillard, Jr. from the Gordonsville exchange with 295 votes; and David Parker from the Woodland exchange with 262 votes.

A total of 485 DTC members voted in the director election.

The results of the election were announced Saturday during the annual meeting of DTC Communications at the fairgrounds in Alexandria

All four directors elected Saturday will serve for three years.

The DTC Communications Board of Directors, in addition to Pugh, Dillard, Malone, and Parker is made up of Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, Terry McPeak of Norene, Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton, and Greg Rogers of Woodbury.

(Pictured left to right: David Parker, Robert Don Malone, Roy N. Pugh, and James H. Dillard, Jr.)

Winchester Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Quincie Paige Winchester
DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants

The 2010 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Quincie Paige Winchester

A senior, Winchester is the 17 year old daughter of Ernie and Vanessa Winchester of Smithville. She is a member of the Literature Club, Science Club, and Beta Club. Winchester is also a DCHS football cheerleader and a member of the North Hills Church of God of Prophecy. She is a top 20 senior and received the French award in 2008 and the Most Spirited cheerleading award in 2008 and 2009.

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendant - Mercedes Faith Luna of Smithville, the 17 year old daughter of Tony and Debbie Luna and Melanie Johnson. She is a member of the Literature Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Luna is a four year member of the DCHS Lady Tiger basketball team and she was a football cheerleader her freshman year. Luna is also a top 20 senior; voted Most Athletic in 2007; received second place at the Jr Beta talent competition in 2007; and she received the Tiger Pride basketball award for the 2009-2010 season. She is a member of Salem Baptist Church.

Senior Attendant- Makenzi Brooke Gibson of Dowelltown, the 17 year old daughter of Erin and Shelly Gibson. Her sister is Breanna Gibson. She is a member of the Literature Club and she was a member of the Student Council and French Club for one year. Gibson has been a member of the basketball program for three years and the softball team for two years. She was also the Junior homecoming attendant last year; she received the 2008-09 Best Defensive player award in basketball; and she was named Junior Class favorite for Best Physique. Gibson is a member of Salem Baptist Church.

Junior Attendant- Kidman Dawn Puckett, the 16 year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville. She is a member of the Jr. Beta Club, FBLA, the Literature Club for two years, and a member of the Spanish and Beta Club. Puckett has been a DCHS football cheerleader for three years, nominated for All-American Cheerleader for three years; and she received the Best Stunts Cheerleading award her freshman year. Puckett was named Sophomore Class favorite by members of the 10th grade class and she was nominated and selected to attend STEM Camp at Tennessee Tech University, a camp for students interested in science technology emerging mathematics. She is a member of the Dry Creek Baptist Church where she is actively involved in Vacation Bible School and youth and mission project events.

Sophomore Attendant- Aaliyah Lashea Bass of Alexandria, the 15 year old daughter of Lorraine Allen and Lavar Bass. She is a member of the dance class and is involved in dance, softball, and pageants. Bass is a member of the Grace Bible Church at Dowelltown

Freshman Attendant- McKenzie Brooke Poteete of Liberty, the 14 year old daughter of Jeff and Deb Poteete. She is a member of the Jr. Beta Club and Literature Club. Poteete is a DCHS football cheerleader and a member of the DCHS Lady Tiger basketball team. She received the DeKalb West School Citizenship Award. Poteete is the younger sister of Justin and Hunter Poteete and is a member of Salem Baptist Church

Spirit week activities will be held September 20th -24th at DCHS. The Homecoming Parade will take place Friday afternoon and the Tiger Homecoming Football game will be at 7:00 p.m. September 24th against Hixson. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the parade and the game.

(Bottom photo: Seated left to right- Makenzi Brooke Gibson, Queen Quincie Paige Winchester, Mercedes Faith Luna
Standing left to right- Kidman Dawn Puckett and McKenzie Brooke Poteete)

Not pictured-Aaliyah Lashea Bass

Stonehaus Winery Presents Country Music Legend John Anderson in Concert

September 18, 2010
John Anderson

Stonehaus Winery Presents Country Music Legend John Anderson in Concert on Saturday Oct 9th!

It’s been over a quarter century since John Anderson changed country music the first time. That was back in the ’80s when that jaw-dropping country voice combined with huge hits like “Wild And Blue” and “Swingin’” to pave the way for the decade’s neo-traditional movement. In the early ’90s, he did it again with Seminole Wind, a bonafide classic that reignited his career and helped fan the flames of the coming country explosion with hits like “Straight Tequila Night” and the album’s unforgettable title track. Well, it’s 2009 and Anderson’s back with Bigger Hands, an album that instantly reestablishes this country music icon as a contemporary musical force to be reckoned with. In other words, Bigger Hands is the real deal – undiluted, no-holds barred, full-on John Anderson
.
Buy your tickets now at Stonehaus Winery or by phone at (931) 484-9463 or on the web at www.stonehauswinery.com
Event Details:

•Tickets $20 pre-sale. $25 the day of the show

•In case of inclement weather, concert would be held at Stone Memorial Auditorium (no wine would be allowed on school grounds)

•Parking for the concert will be at Stone Memorial High School (directly behind the winery). We will have an access gate directly from the parking lot to the concert area. Parking is $5.00 per car with all parking proceeds going to Stone Memorial High School.

•Gates open at 6:00 and there is no reserved seating other than a small VIP area.

•Bring your lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

•No food or beverages can be brought to the show. We will have food and drink vendors on site.

•Lefty’s Barbeque, as well as other food vendors, will be on site.

•You will be able to purchase wine in the winery to enjoy during the show (unless show is moved to school auditorium).

•Stonehaus winery is located on I-40 at exit 320

•Our physical address is 2444 Genesis Rd #103 Crossville, TN 38571

Smithville Elementary Students "Dash for Cash" in the 19th Annual Fun Run

September 17, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
First Graders Dash for Cash in Fun Run

Students from pre-k to the second grade helped raise money for their school during the 19th annual Wildcat Fun Run held Friday at Smithville Elementary School.

Dr. Bill Tanner, SES Principal, says much of the money raised this year will help fund putting down new mulch at the three playgrounds on the school campus.

Dr. Tanner says he wants to thank all those who supported Friday's Fun Run. "We've had parents and other people out here helping with the event and it's just been a beautiful day and a great Fun Run here at Smithville Elementary School."

This event, sponsored by the PTO, is held each year in an effort to raise money for the school. Students are asked to accept pledges or donations prior to the day of the run. During the Fun Run, students walk or jog on a track behind the school with each lap being recorded for each student. After the event, the students then collect money from their pledges.

Is the City of Smithville selling water to the DeKalb Utility District at below cost?

September 17, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Waniford Cantrell

Is the City of Smithville selling water to the DeKalb Utility District at below cost?

Waniford Cantrell, city resident and taxpayer, said he would like to know the answer to that question.

Cantrell, a former Smithville Mayor, spoke Thursday night during a public hearing prior to second and final reading passage of the new budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, a spending plan that includes increases in water and sewer rates. The aldermen adopted the new budget 5-0 and all city employee pay raises therein were made retroactive to July 1st, 2010.

(Click here to read more about the new city budget
http://www.wjle.com/news/2010/city-budget-adopted-first-reading-water-an...)

According to Cantrell, the city has budgeted a 43% water rate increase for it's own customers, compared to a 9 1/4% increase for the DeKalb Utility District. "We're going from $3.50 minimum water rate for the first thousand gallons to $5.00 and also from $3.50 to $5.00 for each additional thousand gallons. That's a 43% increase in water rates. That's a pretty hefty increase for our ratepayers. But then again we also know that we've got to do it because of the state requirement for the water accounts to be self sustaining."

The City of Smithville sells water to the DeKalb Utility District at $1.90 per thousand gallons and under an agreement adopted several years ago, the city usually increases the rate by a nickel per thousand each year.

Cantrell is concerned that the rate the city is charging the DeKalb Utility District may not be keeping up with costs and he suggested that an accountant be hired to determine the actual expense. "The thing that bothers me as I think that we're selling water to the utility district cheaper than what it cost to make it. I asked the question last year and again this year and we still don't know what it cost to make a gallon of water. Yet we're setting rates to sell that water."

"The DeKalb Utility District uses approximately twice as much water as the City of Smithville. To give you an example and these are rough figures, but last year Smithville used roughly 13.6 million gallons a month. The DeKalb Utility District used some 24.5 million gallons. It's not quite but it's roughly double what the city residents use. The utility district pays 61% less than what the city residents pay and we own the water system."

Cantrell also questioned why Smithville was selling water to the DeKalb Utility District at $1.90 per thousand when the City of Alexandria pays the Smith County Utility District $2.72 per thousand to purchase water. "That's about 47% more than we receive from the DeKalb Utility District."

Cantrell said the city really needs to know how much it costs to produce a thousand gallons of water before it sets rates." We've got to find out how much it cost to make a gallon of water. I think we really need to do it because we can't keep on selling water, if we are, cheaper than what it costs to make it. It's against state law to give a utility away or to sell it cheaper than what it costs to make it. The reason for that is it requires the rest of the ratepayers to make that up. If we're selling the utility district water cheaper than what it costs to make it then the city residents are subsidizing the utility district customers."

"In my opinion, we've got to find out what water costs. How do we do that? The council should, if the mayor so desires, approve funds for an experienced cost accountant because that's all it takes to figure this up. I think it would be well worth our money to hire one. If we're selling it (water) to them (DUD) at a reasonable rate and not less than what we pay, fine. But if we're selling it to them for less than what it costs us to make it we need to go back and amend the agreement we've got with the utility district and amend our budget. Like I said, it's against the law to give away a utility or to sell it for less than what it costs because it requires the rest of the ratepayers then to make that up."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson suggested that the city could get into reassessing costs once the water plant rehabilitation is completed next spring. "I think one thing, the water plant has been band aided, baling wired, and whatever and I think when we get the new plant done, which should be in the spring, we will be more able to know what it's costing us and we will do that."

Meanwhile Faye Sandosky, who also spoke during the public hearing, said she was concerned about the city's water loss. "In addition to me not wanting to pay more than DUD customers are paying, I also don't want to be paying for water that we're producing but we have no clue where it's going. I believe that's the job of this board, to follow up on that and give us an answer. Maybe our rates wouldn't have to be raised this much if all of our water that we're producing were being paid for. That is a concern that needs to be addressed and it needs serious attention."

In response, Mayor Hendrixson gave one explanation for part of the so-called water loss "The filters have been in that water plant for forty something years. When we get the new ones, they'll probably have to be backwashed about once a week. It's about 400,000 gallons of treated water that they use to back wash them. Right now they're having to do that two or three times a week so that's one thing that's going with some of the water, which is a great deal. The new water plant will remedy that part of it."

In April, Water Plant Supervisor Kenny Dyal reported that for at least the previous couple of months, the city had a significant water loss. "In February we pumped 49-million, 401 thousand raw gallons of water from the lake. We treated 44-million, 602-thousand gallons. The gallons sold were 34-million, 649-thousand 400. We had a loss of 9-million, 952-thousand 500 gallons. That's a 23% loss."

"In March, we pumped 55-million, 060-thousand gallons from the lake as raw water. We treated 48-million, 956-thousand. We sold 34-million, 116-thousand gallons. That's 12-million, 845-thousand gallons lost. That's 26%. It's a big loss."

Dyal added that while all utilities have some water loss, this is out of the ordinary."There's always loss, but the normal loss is between seven and fifteen percent. If we keep it below fifteen percent, the state is happy. But when it starts getting above fifteen percent they start wondering where your water is going."

Alderman Shawn Jacobs on Thursday night explained that Dyal has since identified some leaks which have been repaired (since his April report). "I believe if I'm not mistaken that Mr. Dyal has identified two or three fairly significant leaks in town that have been repaired, I know of one or two in particular that have been repaired and the water loss percentage is coming down. It's certainly not where we want it to be."

Alderman Jacobs continued "My concern is also that our meter reading system is so old that we're not getting an accurate read of how much water we are producing, but I think if and when we get the telemetry to do the automated metering system at homes as well as at the water plant, I think that will give us a better idea as well. I agree it (water loss) is a serious concern and something we definitely need to get a hold of."

"I agree with Mayor Cantrell that we do need to get a grip on how much this is costing us (to produce water). I don't know if there is anything we can do in this budget. Could we pass this budget tonight and then do an investigation and amend the water rates later? Or is our metering equipment so old at the plant per se that we still would not have an accurate reading? It is a serious concern and we want to get to the bottom of it, I'm just not sure whether it can be done before the plant is rehabilitated."

Alderman Steve White agreed saying "I think that whenever we do get the new meters in place we'll find a lot of the water that has been unaccounted for."

As far as the water and sewer rate increases, Alderman White said he had long advocated for budgeting smaller increases before now rather than waiting and making such a large adjustment at one time. " I wanted to raise it a little at a time down through the years, but the board didn't see fit at the time, they thought we needed to wait. But when you look at that percentage (43% increase spread out) over the last twelve or thirteen years, you're just looking at roughly maybe three percent a year which is not that great of an increase since the last increase."

The city last increased water rates in 1998.

In February, the aldermen voted to apply for funding through a Rural Development Grant/Loan program to help the city convert to a new automated water meter reading system.

Will Taylor of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, who addressed the mayor and aldermen in February was to assist the city in making the application.

Through Rural Development, the city could be eligible for up to a 45% grant for the total project, with the remainder to be funded through a low interest rate loan, which the city could carry for several years.

Taylor said in February that benefits to the city by having an automated meter reading system are that it would reduce water loss by an estimated seven to fifteen percent and cut costs associated with the current manner of reading meters. For example, with an automated system, an employee could read all water meters in the city in just a day or two each month. This would also save fuel costs and wear and tear on city vehicles.

Many utilities are using AMR as a way of improving customer service while reducing the cost of reading meters. Some AMR systems use miniature radio transmitters attached to each water meter. These utilities are then able to collect the readings from handheld radio receivers and from moving vehicles. With this process, one driver in a vehicle is able to read more meters in one day. At the end of the day, the meter reader unloads the information to the city's billing system.

In other business, the aldermen adopted on second and final reading a new ordinance setting a wage scale for salaried city employees. Hourly employees will continue to be paid according to the existing wage scale. In fact the only change regarding hourly employees will be that the aldermen will decide each year whether or not to budget a cost of living pay raise for them.
(Click here to read more about the new wage scale ordinance for salaried employees
http://www.wjle.com/news/2010/smithville-aldermen-vote-set-wage-scale-sa...)

Hit and Run Crash Results in Fatality

September 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hit and Run Crash Results in Fatality
Donald Henson

A 51 year old man, involved in a hit and run accident Wednesday morning on Broad Street in Smithville, is in more trouble with the law now after the female passenger who was in the van with him has died.

Dead is 44 year old Priscilla Judkins

Smithville Police have charged Donald Henson with leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, and vehicular assault. Other charges may be pending. Henson, who has a Cookeville address, actually lives near the Putnam county line in White County.

According to Officer Matt Farmer, Henson was traveling east on Broad Street in a Dodge Caravan when he rear-ended an eastbound 1994 Toyota pickup truck, driven by Randy Paris, who was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Broad and South Mountain Street.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:12 a.m.

Officer Farmer says after crashing into Paris' truck, Henson left the scene, still heading east on Broad Street. Paris received minor injuries in the collision but refused EMS transport to the hospital. His truck received considerable damage.

Sheriff Patrick Ray then had a close encounter with Henson. According to the sheriff, he was driving west on Broad Street near Bumper's Drive-In and had pulled into the turning lane to make a turn, when he saw the eastbound Dodge Caravan, also in the turning lane, fast approaching him. Sheriff Ray says he quickly maneuvered into the westbound lane and the van went on by him, still heading east.

Sheriff Ray says he turned around to catch up with the van and saw it turn into the parking lot of Curve's on East Broad Street. When he pulled in behind the van at Curves', Sheriff Ray says the man behind the wheel was trying to drive the van up an embankment. The van rolled back and came to a stop in the parking lot.

Sheriff Ray says when the driver got out of the van, he also noticed a woman passenger who appeared to be seriously injured. He called for an ambulance.

Henson was placed in custody by Smithville Police at the scene and Judkins was taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. She was later airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, where she died.

Henson, who was believed to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, told police that his brakes "went out" and that his accelerator "hung". He also had in the van several cans of beer, three empty liquor bottles, and at least one bottle of Tequila which was half full.

The investigation continues.

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