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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


Council Adopts Budget on First Reading with No Tax Increase

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Council Adopts Budget on First Reading with No Tax Increase

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night approved on first reading the new 2016-17 budget ordinance on first reading.

The vote was 3-0. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Gayla Hendrix were present. Aldermen Danny Washer and Jason Murphy were absent. Second and final reading action will come at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 28 at city hall.

The new budget totals $6-million 608-thousand 981 dollars. Under the new spending plan, the property tax rate will remain the same at 64.9 cents per $100 of assessed value. The city property tax rate is budgeted to generate $820,000.

Water and sewer rates are to remain the same. City water customers will continue to pay $5.00 per thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are $7.50 per thousand gallons. City sewer customers will continue to pay $5.00 per thousand gallons plus the flat usage rate of $3.62.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District will increase from $2.67 per thousand gallons to $3.00 per thousand gallons.

The city is expected to wrap up the 2015-16 budget year June 30 in the black in both the general fund by $153,724 and water and sewer fund by $76,399.

Total general fund revenues for 2016-17 are projected to be $3,127,010, not enough to cover total estimated expenditures of $3,976,981. The city plans to appropriate $849,971 from the general fund surplus if needed to balance the budget.

The water and sewer fund is expected to show a surplus of $157,925 by years end with total revenues at $2,622,600 and expenditures of $2,464,075. But the 2016-17 water and sewer fund is supported by a $500,000 grant for sewer plant rehabilitation which is counted as income to the city for just one year .

The city will also lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue when the DeKalb Utility District launches its new water plant, which could come before next summer. 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 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.

*Other interesting facts:

According to the budget the city is projected to take in a total of $2,303,160 in local tax dollars in 2016-17 including:

Property Taxes- $820,000

Wholesale Alcoholic Beverage Taxes-$230,000

Wholesale Liquor Tax-$80,000

Interest, Penalty & Costs on Property Taxes-$5,000

Payments In Lieu of Taxes-$60,000

Local Option Sales Taxes-$980,000

Business Taxes-$75,000

TVA Payment In Lieu of Taxes-$53,160

City Awards Bid for Milling and Paving Around Public Square

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
City Awards Bid for Milling and Paving Around Public Square

The City of Smithville plans to begin a milling and repaving project on the public square later this summer or early fall.

During Monday night’s meeting, the Aldermen voted to award a bid to Tinsley Asphalt Company of Tullahoma for $203,460, which was the lowest of the three bids submitted. The other bids came from Rogers Group of Cookeville for $254,910, and LoJac Enterprises at $432,500.

“They will be milling up around the public square from Highway 56 on Walnut, Main, and Market Streets all the way to College Street and around the square,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson.

Milling is a process of removing at least part of the surface of a paved street in preparation for repaving.

Meanwhile, the city plans to pave a few other city streets (yet to be identified) later this summer or fall.

The aldermen awarded a separate bid to Tinsley Asphalt for that project at $70.40 per ton, which was the lowest of the three bids submitted. The other bids were from Rogers Group of Cookeville for $75.25 per ton and LoJac for $93.50 per ton. The bid prices are good for a year.

The city’s 2016-17 State Street Aid budget has $350,000 for paving including $250,000 for the streets around the public square and $100,000 for other city streets.

In other business, Mayor Jimmy Poss re-appointed Hilton Conger to a new four year term on the Smithville Electric System Board of Directors. The aldermen approved the reappointment.

Conger serves with fellow members Walter Burton, Anthony Hagan, John R. Nixon, and Mayor Poss.

City to Close Portion of West Main Street to Replace Sewer Lines

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville has announced that a portion of West Main Street will be closed Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. starting June 13 in order to replace sewer lines in the area between Juniper Lane and Caldwell’s Drug Store. Residents who live inside the closed area will be allowed to pass through to get to and from their homes. All other motorists entering or leaving town will have to take an alternate route until the work is completed.

DCHS Pitcher Selected to Represent Team Tennessee in Sunbelt Classic

June 7, 2016
Dwayne Page
Steven Jennings

DCHS Baseball standout Steven Jennings has been selected by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association to be a member of Team Tennessee in the Junior Sunbelt Classic this weekend in Mcalester, Oklahoma.

Jennings is among 20 high school players from across the state who will represent Tennessee in the Classic.

The Junior Sunbelt Classic is hosted by the Mcalester High School Dugout Club in Mcalester, Oklahoma. The tournament consists of 10 teams of players who have just completed their junior year in high school. Teams include Oklahoma Gold, Oklahoma Blue, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Arizona, Colorado and Canada.

The format is a round robin with seeding to determine placement for the Championship competition. Play begins on Friday, June 10 with Championship play on Wednesday, June 15.

The Team Tennessee will travel by bus this week to the University of Memphis for a workout then to Arkansas State University before getting to Mcalester, Oklahoma for the Classic. Team members will stay with host families while in Oklahoma.

Jennings told WJLE that he is looking forward to competing in the Classic as a member of Team Tennessee where he is expected to pitch and play shortstop.

Early Voting Hours Set for August Elections (VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT HERE)

June 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
Early Voting Hours Set for August Elections

The early voting hours and ballot have been set for the August 4 elections in DeKalb County.


DekalbTN-PG6-InfinityNewspaper.pdf (37.26 KB)

Early voting will be held from July 15 through July 30 and the election commission has set the following hours for those dates:

Mondays—1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursdays—2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturdays—9 a.m. to Noon.

Early voting will be held on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Smithville.

On Election Day, polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the 15 precincts located throughout the county.

A list of the election day polling places can be found at www.dekalbelections.com.

Voters will be casting ballots in the DeKalb County General Election, the Tennessee Republican or Democratic Primary and voters in Smithville, Dowelltown and Liberty will be electing city leaders.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said voters need to make sure their address is up to date with the election office prior to going to the polls.

“Throughout the petition process we discovered numerous voters signed a petition with an address that was not the same as in our database,” Stanley said. “It is important that voters notify us when they move. If not, when they go to the polls the voting process will take longer and, in some cases, they may have to go to another location to vote.”

“Now is a great time to make sure your registration is up to date by contacting our office, or by visiting GoVoteTN.com, or by visiting www.dekalbelections.com,” he continued. “If you are not registered and would like to vote in the August election, the last day to register is July 5.”

Voters who vote in person during early voting or on Election Day must present a photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government. These IDs may be current or expired. College student IDs and photo IDs issued by cities, counties and other states will not be accepted.

Meanwhile, voters are also reminded of a state law regarding cell phones in the polling place.

Under state law, you may use a mobile electronic or communication device for information purposes to assist in making election decisions in the polling place. You may not use a mobile electronic or communication device for telephone conversations, recording or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place.


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