Local News Articles

Cookeville Man Fires Shot During Altercation Near Center Hill Lake

June 4, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kalen Allen Paschal

An initial report of multiple gunshots at the Austin Bottom Boat Ramp near Center Hill Lake Monday night turned out to be a physical altercation between two men, in which one of them pulled a pistol on the other and then fired one shot into the air. No one was hurt.

24 year old Kalen Allen Paschal of Cookeville, a convicted felon, has been charged by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. His bond is $30,000 and he will be in court June 13.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Paschal and another man got into an argument which led to a physical altercation. During the incident, Paschal pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the victim, and fired once in the air. Paschal then hid the weapon in the woods. The victim meanwhile contacted his family and they came to the scene with a rifle but it was not fired.

Detectives found .45 ounces of marijuana in Paschal's backpack along with a set of scales and $240 in cash, all of which were in twenty dollar bills.

Sheriff Ray said detectives seized Paschal's cash, marijuana, and handgun. The rifle belonging to the victim's family was also seized.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department requested and received mutual aid assistance at the scene from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. DeKalb and Putnam County EMS were also there.

Man Charged with Assaulting Neighbor

June 4, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Corbett Corder
Michael William Frizzell
Calvin Kent Adcock
Torsten Michael Jakob

A property line dispute led to the arrest of one man for allegedly assaulting his neighbor and vandalizing his lawn mower on Memorial Day.

59 year old Jimmy Corbett Corder of Howard Redmon Road, Sparta is charged with simple assault and vandalism under $500. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, May 27, an officer of the sheriff's department responded to an assault call on Howard Redmon Road. Upon arrival, the deputy spoke with a man who had been assaulted by his neighbor, Corder. The neighbor said he was mowing a strip of grass on the property line and that Corder arrived and boxed in the mower with his vehicle so that he could not leave. He (Corder) allegedly used a hammer to beat the mower causing less than $500 in damage. The victim said Corder also hit him on the arm with the hammer.

56 year old Calvin Kent Adcock of Maple Ridge Court, McMinnville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 6. He was also issued a citation for simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, May 6 an officer of the sheriff's department was dispatched to a call of a person having fallen on the Old Bildad Road. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with Adcock who was found to be sitting beside the road. Adcock's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. He was transported to the emergency room of the hospital by DeKalb EMS. While enroute to the hospital, a glasses case fell out of Adcock's shirt pocket. Inside the case were a loaded syringe that Adcock said contained methamphetamine and two spoons used for meth.

48 year old Torsten Michael Jakob of Highland Avenue, Smithville is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond on this charge is $2,500 and he will be in court June 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, May 30 Jakob was at the residence of a woman, who on Saturday May 25, had him charged with assault. A Bond condition was placed on the assault warrant for him not to have contact with this woman. She told the officer that she was unaware that Jakob was inside her home until she came out of the bathroom. When the officer knocked on the door, Jakob instructed the woman not to answer the door. No one answered the door but the officer looked through the window and saw Jakob. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

28 year old Michael William Frizzell of Prater Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on June 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 31 Frizzell allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. They were pushing each other until they went to the ground. Frizzell allegedly grabbed the victim's neck and forced her outside the residence and would not let her back inside the check on the children. It was determined that Frizzell was the primary aggressor and he was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Aldermen Adopt Budget Without Adding New Full Time Firefighters

June 3, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling, Jason Murphy, and Jimmy Poss (older photo)
Danny Washer, Gayla Hendrix, and Shawn Jacobs (older photo)

Facing a possible deficit in the general fund of more than $344,000 by the end of 2013-14 fiscal year, the Smithville Aldermen Monday night voted 3 to 2 to adopt a new $7.8 million budget ordinance on first reading without any new paid full time firefighter positions.

Aldermen Tim Stribling, Jason Murphy, and Danny Washer voted for the budget. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Gayla Hendrix, who wanted to include funding for one new firefighter, voted against the budget. Second and final reading will follow a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

(CLICK LINK TO PDF BELOW TO VIEW PROPOSED BUDGET AS ADOPTED ON FIRST READING MONDAY NIGHT)
fye 63014 budget.pdf (557.29 KB)

Two versions of the budget were presented to the aldermen for consideration Monday night. One of the proposed budgets included another full time firefighter at $41,000 (salary, payroll taxes, and insurance benefits). The other did not include the position.

According to the city's financial advisor, Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the proposal with the firefighter would have put the projected budget deficit by year's end at $385,000. Without the firefighter, Jackson said the anticipated deficit is $344,105. During the budget workshop with the mayor and aldermen last Tuesday night, Jackson had projected a break even budget or a slight deficit by June 30, 2014. But since then, she discovered an error in which she failed to account for expenses related to a mostly grant funded fuel farm project for the airport. " I have found a math error and made a correction so the numbers are worse in the general fund. We're now projecting a $344,000 deficit in current revenues to current expenses but if you do the additional firefighter it's about a $385,000 deficit," said Jackson.

What this means is that unless spending is held in check during the year, the city will have to appropriate $344,105 from the general fund surplus to balance the budget by June 30, 2014. Meanwhile, the proposed water and sewer fund is also showing a projected loss of $62,280 by the end of the fiscal year June 30, 2014. Funds to make up for the anticipated loss would have to be appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus. City officials point out that the projected water and sewer fund deficit could be reduced or erased when it's known what new rates will be charged the DeKalb Utility District beginning January 1 under a new contract between the city and the DUD, which has not yet been negotiated or agreed upon.

The proposed budget includes a 1.5% pay raise for all city employees including salaried personnel. Some employees will also get step increases depending upon where they fall in the wage scale for their departments. The budget increases funding for the chamber of commerce from $5,000 to $10,000 and includes a total allocation of $5,000 to be divided among members of city boards and commissions, such as beer board, planning commission, etc. for attending those meetings.

During Monday night's meeting, Alderman Tim Stribling made a motion to adopt a new budget without another paid firefighter saying the city does not have a revenue source to fund it. "I would like to add a fire fighter, or two, three, four, five or however many. But it's got to have a funding source. It's a recurring expense every year. I just don't see where we're able to take one on at this time so I make a motion that we adopt the budget with no additional fire employee," he said. Alderman Jason Murphy seconded the motion.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs, who is also the city's police and fire commissioner, advocated making further budget cuts where possible to help fund another firefighter. " We are the only town our size anywhere in the area that doesn't have full time firefighters. At least partial full time firefighters. Baxter has several. Six or something like that. Tiny towns smaller than us have part time firefighters that are being paid. I think you can be a penny wise and a pound foolish. There's not all that much difference in the deficits (of the two proposed budgets). I just wish we could find somewhere to cut a little bit more to make them (proposed budgets) closer together," he said.

"Shawn, I'm sure those towns that do have full time fire departments are funded," replied Alderman Stribling. " They've got a way to fund it. We've got to have a way to fund this every year. You're basically going to have to find $40,000 in new taxes. I mean we've got the surplus to cover it but how many years do we have a surplus to cover it?," asked Alderman Stribling.

"I'm just advocating for the fire department because I'm the fire and police commissioner and it's my job to be their advocate and I think we need it," responded Alderman Jacobs.

"I agree with Shawn in this matter," said Alderman Gayla Hendrix. " We've had lengthy discussions in our budget workshops and I know we've gone through and trimmed a lot of the excess. But I think we are all aware there are always items budgeted that are not spent. Even with the way its trimmed there's a lot of places to cut. I think it boils down to the fact of what's more important to you. I hate that we're showing a deficit. It's better than last year. Better than the year before. We're making progress. But we've also made some major improvements to our community. We talk about needing more jobs and bringing in more jobs. These improvements to the airport are going to look favorable to industries. This ladder truck and at least one hired firefighter is going to look favorable to industry. The disaster that happened with Moog cost us jobs and cost us tax revenue. It hurts me to think that could ever happen again. I think the fire chief has explained to us that if we had two staff members that could be ready to respond immediately in the middle of the day or any time of the day to our factories, to our industries as well as people's homes, we could save a lot. It would reduce our ISO rating. I don't like to have to look at a deficit. But in the grand scheme of things I think this budget has a lot of places we could cut. This (another paid firefighter) is something I think is very much needed," said Alderman Hendrix.

While admitting there could be other places in the budget to cut, Mayor Jimmy Poss said the proposed budget is not bloated and that the city is going to have to keep a close eye on spending this year. "We're going to have to watch what we spend to make this thing work. Hopefully we don't have to buy a lot this year," he said.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson said the major problem is that revenues have not kept up with expenses. " Revenues have stalled. We have found some other sources of revenue but we won't know what that will be until a year from now. We may say a year from now we're bringing in more in certain taxes to fund a fireman or that could fund this or that recurring. That's the thing, it's not just funding it for a year or two, it's got to fund it year after year. Of course, we all want to do this without raising property taxes I assume. I think that's where we're at on this budget. Expenditures tend to creep up and revenues are kind of flat lined right now," said Hendrixson.

The budget calls for no increase in the city property tax rate (.6490 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value) and no increases in water or sewer rates.

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 $2.05 per thousand gallons but will increase beginning with January 1, 2014 sales. The rate will be determined in a new contract between the city and the DUD, which has not yet been negotiated or agreed upon.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $ 2,070,670. This expense is due to mostly grant funded projects at the airport.

Specific projects are as follows:

Financial Administration:
$5,000 for computer upgrades and equipment

Parks and Recreation:
$5,000 unspecified

Public Works/Buildings and Grounds:
$10,000 unspecified

City Hall Building:
$10,000 unspecified

Fire Protection:
$10,000 unspecified

Street Department:
$20,000 for a chipper truck
$20,000 for a vehicle

Police Department:
$25,000 for a police car
$2,000 unspecified

Golf Course:
$5,000 unspecified

Airport: (Mostly grant funded projects with local city match)
$1,516,670 for the runway and apron overlay
$347,000 for a fuel farm
$95,000 for PAPI Infrastructure

Sanitation Fund:
$5,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: Automatic meter readers project- $410,000; Capital improvements-paint water tank- $80,000; Sewer plant improvement study & engineering fees- $18,000; Sewer plant updates- $250,000; Sewer rehabilitation camera- $125,000
Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

The proposed budget breaks down as follows:

REVENUES:
General Fund: $4,703,270
Special Revenue Fund-Sanitation: $263,330
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,424,500
Drug Fund: $10,025
Appropriation of Surplus- General Fund: $344,105
Appropriation of Surplus-Drug Fund: $5,225
Appropriation of Surplus-Water & Sewer Fund: $62,280
Total Revenues: $7,812,735

EXPENDITURES:
General Fund: $5,047,375
Special Revenue Funds Sanitation: $263,235
Water & Sewer Fund: $2,486,780
Drug Fund: $15,250
Surplus in Sanitation Fund:$95
Total Expenditures: $7,812,735

Leadership DeKalb to Feed Hungry Children This Summer

June 3, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Leadership DeKalb 2013 is feeding hungry children this summer.

"Each year, Leadership DeKalb classes have to pick a project and our class has decided to try to feed children that might be hungry this summer while school is out," said Darrell Gill, President of the 2013 Leadership DeKalb Class. It's our plan to get non perishable foods to the families of children that are needing help this summer," he said.

Families in need of help feeding their children this summer or if you know of a child that could benefit call 615-318-2726. You may also call if you would like to donate non-perishable foods or money to support to this effort.

This Thursday night, June 6 around six o'clock were going to have hot dogs, potato chips, and drinks. We're also going to have some flyers that we'd like to pass out and questionnaires for parents or guardians to sign up for this project help that we're trying to do with the food drive for hungry children. We'll be set up in the areas of the Joe L. Evins ballpark and the Short Mountain Village and the Bell Street area. So if you see us out with hotdogs and chips and you'd like something to eat, come over and talk to us and we'll give you a flyer and a questionnaire to fill out, "said Gill.

Senator Alexander’s Two-Year Ban on Corps Fishing Restrictions Becomes Law

June 3, 2013
Lamar Alexander

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today announced that the two-year ban stopping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting fishing below dams on the Cumberland River, passed first by the Senate and then by the House, has officially become law.

“Now the Corps is required, by law, to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and ignoring elected officials who are standing up for fishermen,” Alexander said.

The legislation that became law today prohibits the Corps from implementing existing fishing restrictions for two years, while also delegating enforcement below the dams to state agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky. The U.S. Senate unanimously supported this legislation on May 16, and the House passed it on May 21.

In addition to today’s two-year ban, on May 15 the U.S. Senate passed Alexander’s permanent solution as part of the Water Resources Development Act. This permanent solution would prevent the Corps from establishing permanent physical barriers, and from taking any further action until the Corps ensures that restrictions downstream of the 10 dams on the Cumberland River are based on actual operating conditions – instead of 24 hours a day. The Water Resources Development Act would also give sole responsibility for enforcement of the restricted area below the dams to the states and require that the Corps seek and consider public comment before taking further action. The House has not yet taken up its version of the Water Resources Development Act, which Alexander said made it necessary to pass a two-year ban in the meantime.

The Corps had proceeded with its plan to restrict access below 10 dams along the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky, despite the Senate’s unanimous support for an amendment to the budget resolution in March that would allow Congress to prohibit the Corps’ plans. Alexander had also held numerous meetings with Corps officials encouraging them to find a compromise with state agencies, and after they refused, he said on May 8 he would restrict Corps funding in his role as the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

Alexander’s legislation, known as the “Freedom to Fish Act,” was cosponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). A similar version was sponsored in the house by U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.).

GED Revision At End of Year Prompts Rush to Test Centers

June 3, 2013

Tennesseans who have not taken the GED® high school equivalency test or who have passed some but not all parts of the GED® have only the remainder of 2013 to earn their high school credential under the current test structure, Labor & Workforce Development Acting Commissioner Burns Phillips announced.

Beginning January 1, 2014, partial test scores will be invalid and will not transfer to the new high school equivalency test. At that time, Tennesseans will have a choice of taking either the new 2014 GED® test or an alternative high school equivalency test designed by the Educational Testing Service called HiSET® in order to earn a high school equivalency diploma.

Since 2002 when the last change took place to reflect needed proficiencies, the General Educational Development (GED®) test – accepted by virtually all states, colleges, and employers – has been offered as a battery of five tests that measure skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. During the last 10 years, standards have changed, and the test is being redesigned to more accurately measure what students are expected to learn in high school to be prepared for college or a career.

“We’re urging everyone who has passed a portion of the GED® test to register and finish the test now because all partial scores will no longer be valid after January 1, 2014. In addition, the new GED® test will be computer-based and the cost increases to $120,” said Marva Doremus, state administrator for Adult Education. “Our preparation classes are filling up quickly as people prepare to get in under the wire.”

“There’s no registration deadline, but test-takers must know that by November and December if they have not registered there may not be any openings left. To ensure they can take the current version, they should do it as soon as possible.”

Those who want to take the GED® test for the first time as well as those who only lack certain parts must take the test at an official GED® Testing Center. Individuals can take the test either by computer or on paper. For details on taking the current test and information on preparation courses, contact the GED® Office in the Adult Education Division of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development 1-800-531-1515, or visit the Department’s website at http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/AE/.

According to the GED® Testing Service, more than a million adults nationwide have started but not finished the current GED® test. Last year, 9,159 Tennesseans earned GED® diplomas, but Tennessee still has more than 930,000 adults without a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Woman Injured in Sunday Rollover Accident

June 2, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Department Works to Extricate Mary Harris from her Car
Scene of Sunday Wreck on Allen Ferry Road
Woman Injured in Sunday Rollover Accident

A 64 year old Smithville woman was injured in a rollover accident Sunday afternoon on Allen Ferry Road near the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department said Mary Harris was driving east in a 1995 Ford Focus when she went off the right side of the road, struck a culvert, knocked down a speed limit sign, and overturned. The vehicle came to rest on its side at Mt Holly Cemetery. Police say Harris claims she lost control the car after taking her eyes of the road to reach for cigarettes she had dropped in the car.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department performed extrication services to get Harris out of the vehicle. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Captain Leffew said Harris will be cited for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).

Smithville Police investigated another accident in almost the exact same spot the day before, on Saturday.

Officer Matt Farmer said 30 year old Russell Johnson was driving east on Allen Ferry Road in a Ford Ranger pickup when he lost control and went off the right side of the road and overturned. The truck came to rest on its top near the cemetery. Johnson was injured and taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Holds Steady at 8.2% in April

June 2, 2013

The DeKalb County Unemployment Rate for April was 8.2%, the same as March but up from 7.5% in April, 2012.

The local labor force for April was 9,730. A total of 8,930 were employed and 800 were without work

DeKalb County's jobless rate for April was fifth lowest among the fourteen Upper Cumberland counties. Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett:13.2%
Van Buren: 11.6%
White:11.3%
Clay:10%
Cumberland: 9.5%
Warren: 9.3%
Fentress: 9.1%
Overton:8.7%
Jackson: 8.4%
DeKalb: 8.2%
Putnam: 7.6%
Macon: 7.5%
Smith: 7.4%
Cannon: 6.5%

County unemployment rates for April 2013 show the rate decreased in 62 counties, increased in 23, and stayed the same in ten.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent in March. Davidson County also increased from 6.2 in March to 6.5 in April. Hamilton County was 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent in the previous month. Shelby County was 9.2 percent, down from 9.5 percent in March.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for April was 8.0 percent, which increased two tenths of one percentage point from the March revised rate of 7.8 percent. The national unemployment rate for April 2013 was 7.5 percent, decreasing by one tenth of one percentage point from the previous month.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

City of Smithville Facing Tight Budget Year

May 30, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen (Older Photo)

Facing a tight budget year with no tax increase, city officials are not expecting much in the way of extra spending for 2013-14. That may not be good news for the Smithville Fire Department which had hoped to add one or two new paid full time firefighters.

In their final workshop before Monday night's council meeting, the mayor and aldermen met Tuesday evening with financial consultant, Janice Plemmons-Jackson to crunch the budget numbers. Jackson said she and secretary-treasurer Hunter Hendrixson have gone over the proposed budget in recent days cutting "fluff". But with all the revisions that have been made, the city could still go slightly in the red or just break even by the end of the fiscal year. "The (proposed) general fund had a (projected) $200,000 deficit for the year," said Jackson. "Hunter and I went through and talked about taking out all the fluff, or the rounding, or the cushioning. We decided to go back to a barebones (budget). We've got the general fund tightened down as good as we can get it without eliminating positions or hours. This is a very tight budget," she said.

If emergency spending is required during the year, Jackson said the aldermen could approve budget amendments, taking money from the general fund surplus.

As for the fire department's request, Jackson said with revenue streams not keeping pace with expenses, the city would have to look for new money at some point if it added another firefighter position. "We've weeded out a lot of fluff. If you want to do it (add firefighter position), you've got surpluses that will provide some money to do it. But to know that it's a today, tomorrow, in the future and a never ending thing makes me look at revenues and other expenses and say, sometime you're going to need more revenues or you can't afford it. Right now today, yeah you can afford it but you may have to cut other things out. Revenues are pretty flat. They are not growing at the same rate that expenses are growing. That's why I'm cautious about adding new kinds of recurring things when you're not adding sources of revenue," said Jackson.

Still, Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Gayla Hendrix want to find a way to fund one new firefighter position this year. "We have a group of city firefighters and a majority have been with the department for a long time, fifteen, twenty, thirty years, which is almost unheard of," said Alderman Hendrix. "You're not going to see this coming up in the newer generation. The younger people are not going to make that kind of commitment . Full volunteer departments will eventually become a thing of the past because people have jobs that they can't take off from and leave when there is a call. Factories are not going to let you up and leave like it was when we were an agricultural community when people worked for themselves and they could do that. These guys have been doing all this stuff volunteer on weekends and nights away from their families for years and years. I like the idea that we would have people on staff that could make a call in the middle of the day if someone else were not available. I would like to see us put in one more position. I think there's a lot of other areas we could start cutting back on to make this work. I think that's more necessary than a lot of things we're putting money into right now. We know we're never going to have a full time paid fire department. We're still going to rely on volunteers, but if you have a couple of paid firefighters who can do so much stuff during the week, that keeps the volunteers from having to spend all their time doing the regular routine stuff that has to be done, then the volunteers can be there to do the training and be ready to go on a call when needed," said Alderman Hendrix.

"If he gets one other firefighter, (Fire Chief) Charlie (Parker) and that firefighter could respond with a vehicle immediately. One person can't do that. They could also do first responder calls, said Alderman Jacobs. "Sometimes we fool ourselves by saying every job is as important as the other. That's not true. Public safety is a special breed and I think you've got to pay for it. If we do add this extra fireman, I would like to see the salary start at the same salary that our policemen start at," said Alderman Jacobs.

"We projected what one person would cost, benefits and all that," said Jackson. "I took the middle number of (Fire Chief) Charlie (Parker's) projections $28,000 to $32,000 and said if I take $30,000 and added the payroll tax and the insurance (benefit). Its roughly $42,000. That gets you another full time person at a $30,000 salary," she said. "Some discussion came up about, maybe that's higher than what police people start at. So you may say we'll budget only $25,000 for (one firefighter) salary," said Jackson.

The other three aldermen, Jason Murphy, Tim Stribling, and Danny Washer said the city cannot afford adding a paid firefighter position right now without tapping into general fund surpluses, a practice they believe is not appropriate for meeting recurring expenses. " I hate not to do it (fund a firefighter position). I believe in what the firefighters do. But we don't have that much of a gap (between revenues and expenses). We're eventually going to need a new fire truck. We're going to need garbage trucks and other equipment. We need to build up our fund (surplus) so that we can take those capital hits. That's what scares me about it all," said Alderman Murphy.

"Our revenue streams are going down and there's other equipment that's got to be purchased and it's going to have to come out of our surplus," said Alderman Tim Stribling. "I'm not against having them (paid firefighters) but I want to be able to fund it every year without having to worry about kicking into our surplus. Who knows, a garbage truck might break down," he said.

"I'd like to have two (paid firefighters) if we could afford it. But in my opinion, it's too much too quick," said Alderman Danny Washer. We're leveled off right now. I'd like to stay leveled off for another year and see if we generate any more revenue and see how it looks a year from now," he said.

In addition to the firefighter positions, Chief Parker had requested extra funding for other needs in the fire department. Jackson said some of those proposed amounts have been cut back in this budget. "Charlie had requested $55,000 for capital outlay but he said he had about $5,000 of specific costs for hoses. So we cut that back to $10,000. If something comes up, you could amend the budget," said Jackson.

"He (Chief Parker) had asked for $50,000 for payments to volunteers. Two years ago, the city paid $32,000. This year we paid $30,000. I bumped it down to $35,000 (in new budget). If they have a lot of fires, we'll have to amend the budget," said Jackson.

The budget does include a 1.5% pay raise for all city employees including salaried personnel and those on the police department's step increase plan.

The proposed budget for the water and sewer fund shows a deficit by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year but that is expected to change when its known what the new water rate will be for the DeKalb Utility District in January, according to Jackson. "Water and sewer, we didn't project as much increases in revenues. We're at a (projected) loss of about $58,000 to $59,000. If you have an actual loss for two years in a row, the state makes you raise your rates to make you be profitable so we want to avoid that if possible. The big question will be what will the DUD rate be when their contract runs out?," she said. "January 1 we will be looking at having to come up with a number. We may end up, depending on where the DUD rate goes and how other costs go, that we can be profitable in 2014. My hope and goal is that we're not in the red and that we don't have to be forced to change rates," said Jackson.

The aldermen are expected to adopt on first reading Monday night, June 3 a new budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Two proposed budgets will be presented for consideration, one with a firefighter position included, and another without. Three votes are required for passage. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. at city hall. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

TDOT to Close Hurricane Bridge to All Traffic Friday Night

May 30, 2013

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) contract crews will close the Hurricane Bridge on SR 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County to all traffic on Friday, May 31 beginning at 8:00 p.m. for approximately 20 hours. The closure is necessary to allow the contractor to perform structural work (replacing a bearing pin on the bridge pier) that cannot be done with traffic driving on the bridge.

The work is weather dependent. Should inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances prevent this work from occurring as scheduled, it will be rescheduled to take place as soon as possible.

During the closure, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and flaggers will be present to assist with traffic control. Message boards will be in place to notify drivers of the closure. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR 53. The bridge should be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will continue to remain in effect and will be strictly enforced.

The work is part of a $26.9 million rehabilitation project which is scheduled to be complete in October 2013.

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8:55 A.M.
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9:45 P.M.

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