City to Hire Grant Writer for Fire Department Ladder Truck

June 20, 2011
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen have voted to employ a grant writer in the hope of obtaining a FEMA grant to assist the city in purchasing a ladder truck and related equipment for the city fire department.

During a meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night, Chief Charlie Parker asked that Johnny Robertson be hired to write the grant. Parker said Robertson has had a great track record in helping other fire departments obtain grants. "He has been writing grants for a little while. So far, he has done seven grants that he has been responsible for writing, either in whole or in part, and with all seven he has been successful in receiving grants from FEMA. He has also served on the committee that reviews the grants so he has a very good working knowledge of what they're looking for. He's got a very good track record," said Chief Parker.

"The ladder truck is actually on one grant through FEMA and the equipment that goes on it (ladder truck) is on a second grant. Both can be applied for at the same time. He has agreed to do both of these grants for $3,000. Its $1,500 per grant. He'll do all the narratives and get it in. If we are awarded the grant, the $3,000 cost is recoverable from the grant so the grant would actually pay for that money. In the event that we didn't get the grant, we would still have to pay him the $3,000," said Chief Parker.

If the grant is funded, the city would be responsible for a five percent local match. The aldermen have not made provisions for that in the new budget, but city officials said a budget amendment could be approved to fund the local matching obligation if the grant is approved. The $3,000 fee for the grant writer would be funded from the fire department budget.

In other action, Chief Parker asked that Kevin Adcock be approved by the aldermen as a city firefighter. Adcock has successfully completed his 90 day probationary period and has been approved as a member by the fire department. The aldermen gave their approval as well.

Meanwhile, the mayor and aldermen will meet in special session on Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 p.m. at city hall for the purpose of swearing into office the three aldermen-elect. The mayor may also make appointments to various city boards during that meeting.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson appointed Norris Colvert to fill the unexpired term of Donnie Driver on the planning commission. Driver recently resigned. Aldermen Cecil Burger, Aaron Meeks, and Shawn Jacobs all voted for Colvert. Alderman Steve White said he could not vote because of a conflict. Alderman W.J. (Dub) White voted no.

In other business, the aldermen adopted a new budget ordinance on second and final reading following a public hearing. No one addressed the mayor and aldermen during the public hearing.

The new budget, totaling $6-million 113-thousand 511, calls for no increases in water or sewer rates and the new certified property tax rate, established by the state after reappraisal, is expected to generate about the same local revenues as the current tax rate of .6194 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value. The city property tax rate generates approximately $790,000 a year.

Water customers will continue to pay $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates are $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage

The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to be $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter. In addition, all sewer customers will continue to pay the $3.62 cent per month flat rate usage fee

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $1.95 per thousand gallons but will increase to $2.00 beginning with January 1, 2012 sales.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits are $600 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fees are $600 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees are $800 for a three quarter inch line and $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

The proposed budget calls for city employees with up to four years of service to get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale and a cost of living increase of 3% . City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale would only get the cost of living increase.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $256,000.

Other Specific projects are as follows:

Financial Administration:
$25,000 unspecified

Parks and Recreation:
$5,000 to pave a basketball court
$15,000 for a 1.5 mile walking trail
$5,000 for a fence

Public Works/Buildings and Grounds:
$25,000 for Shed & equipment storage

City Hall Building:
$25,000 unspecified

Fire Protection:
$36,000 for turnout equipment
$10,000 for a used vehicle & unspecified

Street Department:
$10,000 for downtown beautification
$10,000 unspecified

Police Department:
$40,000 unspecified

Swimming Pool:
$15,000 unspecified

Golf Course:
$5,000 unspecified

$25,000 unspecified

Animal Shelter:
$5,000 unspecified

Sanitation Fund:

Drug Fund:
$10,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: Automatic meter readers project- $360,000; update of water plant and engineering fees- $150,000; used mini excavator- $15,000;

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

The proposed budget breaks down as follows:

General Fund: $3,106,400
Special Revenue Fund-Sanitation: $277,700
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,350,000
Drug Fund: $5,100
Appropriation of Surplus- General Fund: $192,413
Appropriation of Surplus-Drug Fund: $25,400
Appropriation of Surplus-Water & Sewer Fund: $153,837
Appropriation of Surplus-Sanitation Fund: $2,661
Total Revenues: $6,113, 511

General Fund: $3,298,813
Special Revenue Funds Sanitation: $280,361
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,503,837
Drug Fund: $30,500
Total expenditures: $6,113,511

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