Local News Articles

County Highway Rock Crusher to be Back in Operation Tuesday

July 19, 2010
Dwayne Page
Kenny Edge Stands By New Electrical Box at Rock Crusher
Kenny Edge Surveys Work at Bridge on Oakley Hollow Road
Debris lodged under Dismal Bridge from May Flood

The DeKalb County Highway Department's Rock Crusher should be back in operation by tomorrow (Tuesday).

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge says lightning during the weekend of the flood on May 1st and 2nd completely burned out the electrical box putting the rock crusher out of commission.

Since then, Edge says his department has had to purchase rock from Rogers Group.

A brand new $30,000 electrical box has been installed at the rock crusher, which also includes costs of parts and labor. Edge says the expense of replacing the electrical box was covered by insurance.

Meanwhile, repair work continues on local bridges as a result of the May 1st and 2nd flood. Road Supervisor Edge says the local road department is getting federal and state assistance to help fund those repairs.

Wingwalls at a small bridge on Oakley Hollow Road collapsed during the flood and are now being replaced. According to Road Supervisor Edge, creek water rose about eight feet over the road during the flood and drifts were in the trees.

Edge says Jewel's Construction was recently hired to bring in a track hoe to dig out around the bridge where concrete can be poured for the new wing walls. The work is still underway on the project. Edge says the bridge remains open and is safe to travel.

Meanwhile, work has been done at a bridge on Lower Helton Road over Smith Fork creek. Edge says this bridge received the most surface damage and it costs $11,162 to repair the guardrails and re-pave the road on the approaches to the bridge.

Another repair was required at the Dismal Bridge over Smith Fork. Edge says this bridge received the most debris damage and it costs $11,561 to re-pave part of the road to the bridge, and to repair the guardrail posts, where the flood washed out around them. Edge says he also had to cut a road under the bridge in order to be able to access all the debris which accumulated there during the flood.

Edge says debris at the Dismal Bridge, two bridges at Sink Creek, and one bridge at Dry Creek will be removed once the state issues a permit, giving the road department authority to proceed.

According to Edge, the federal government will pay 75% and the state 12.5% for the repairs through grant funds and the county will have to match the remaining 12.5%

Early Voting Update

July 18, 2010
Dwayne Page

A total of 516 people have cast ballots during the first seven days of early voting in DeKalb County for the August 5th elections. Seventy eight voted Friday, July 23rd, including twenty eight in the Tennessee Republican Primary. Forty four voted in the Tennessee Democratic Primary. Six voters cast ballots only in the county general election and one person voted in the Dowelltown Municipal Election.

For the seven days combined, 516 people have taken advantage of early voting. Two hundred have voted in the state Republican Primary and 282 in the state Democratic Primary. Most have also voted in the DeKalb County General Election. Thirty three people have cast ballots only in the county general election, choosing not to vote in either state primary. Three have voted in the Dowelltown Municipal Election

Early voting continues through Saturday, July 31st on the first floor of the courthouse. Voting hours are 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Election day is Thursday, August 5th.

Purple Pride Caravan visits Smithville Tuesday

July 18, 2010
Dwayne Page
Coach Watson Brown

The Purple Pride Caravan is rolling again, with stops planned at seven communities around the region plus two events in Cookeville, all in anticipation of Tennessee Tech’s 2010 football season.

The Purple Pride Caravan is scheduled to visit Smithville on Tuesday, July 20, visiting the Save-A-Lot store from 4 until 6 p.m.

The Purple Pride Caravan is making stops across the region during July and August, giving football fans in those areas a chance to grab a hot dog and a drink, meet Golden Eagle head coach Watson Brown, pick up schedule cards and poster, win free tickets to the first game and register to win other prizes.

The Purple Pride Caravan will hold a tailgate event in each town to promote the upcoming football season with free hot dogs and Pepsi in a tailgate atmosphere.

Following its stop in Smithville, the Purple Pride Caravan will also visit Monterey, Livingston, Gainesboro, McMinnville and Sparta, before it wraps up with two September dates in Cookeville. The first is Aug. 31, with the final Caravan on Sept. 14, two days before the opening game in Tucker Stadium.

The first 50 fans at each caravan stop will receive a free pair of tickets to the first game against Lane College. Fans can register to win an autographed TTU helmet signed by Head coach Watson Brown, to be given away at each stop along the route, along with other prizes.

Fans visiting the Caravan will get the chance to meet the TTU mascot, Awesome Eagle, and members of the dance team and cheer squads for a true tailgate atmosphere.

The Caravan visits are held each Tuesday afternoon from 4 until 6 p.m. Six of the visits will take place at the Sav-A-Lot store in each community and three events will be at First National Bank branches.

For additional information on the caravan or to purchase season tickets for the upcoming football season, call (931) 372-3940.

2010 Purple Pride Caravan Schedule
Tuesday, July 13 – Celina (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, July 20 – Smithville (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, July 27 – Monterey (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, August 3 – Livingston (First National Bank)
Tuesday, Aug. 10 – Gainesboro (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, Aug. 17 – McMinnville (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, Aug. 24 – Sparta (First National Bank)
Tuesday, Aug. 31 – Cookeville (Sav-A-Lot)
Tuesday, Sept. 14 – Cookeville (First National Bank)

Nursery Greenhouse Plastic Being Rolled for Recycling

July 17, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Prepares to Roll Nursery Greenhouse Plastic
Workers Rolling Nursery Greenhouse Plastic for Recycling

County officials have found a way to recycle nursery greenhouse plastic and keep it out of the landfill.

DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster says this past week the county landfill employees and nursery workers have made use of a device at the garbage collection convenience site on Highway 56 south that rolls up plastic so it can be shipped out for recycling.

Foster adds that the device works so well, he would like for the county to have one of it's own. "The University of Tennessee has some equipment and we're trying to get a grant to buy one so that the local nurseries would have it available to them as they take the plastic off of their greenhouses each spring. It rolls those sheets of plastic up and puts them in a real neat roll and you can put pressure on the machine and make the roll tighter. After you get them complete, those rolls weigh about 400 to 450 pounds. By rolling the plastic, we're keeping it from having to go into the landfill. That plastic builds almost an impermeable layer in there (landfill) that the water can't permeate down through. So we're trying to keep that out of the landfill. It also helps the nurserymen because they can roll this plastic up and get it recycled. Mark Holcomb from McMinnville, who works primarily with the nurseries, got this machine for us to look at and they're doing it(rolling plastic) in McMinnville too. We're going to try and get a grant to buy one, or have U.T. Extension get us one to where we could have it available for the nurserymen."

"As far as what we're doing right now, it looks like it's going to be about 14,000 pounds of plastic total when we get through. A trucker out of Arkansas will come and pick that up to be recycled. That benefits us at the landfill so we don't have to put that in there and it's a good thing for the environment too because it gets it recycled."

Liberty Man Gets into Trouble with the Law..Then Again And Again

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Christopher Justin Garrett

A 20 year old Liberty man got into trouble with the law more than once this past week.

Christopher Justin Garrett of 160 Clear Creek, Liberty was arrested by Smithville Police on Sunday, July 11th for public intoxication and under age consumption of alcohol. Officer Scott Davis conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for speeding and Garrett , a passenger in the vehicle, had an open mixed drink of Vodka and Hawaiian punch between his feet where he was sitting. Police say Garrett is under the legal age to be drinking or in possession of alcohol. Garrett did not have anyone who could pick him up and due to his intoxication level and for his safety, he was placed under arrest. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is July 22nd.

Meanwhile, after Garrett was taken to the DeKalb County Jail that day, Sunday, July 11th, he was charged with introduction of drugs into a penal facility. After Garrett's initial arrest, Officer Scott Davis requested that Corporal Travis Bryant transport Garrett to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department due to a shift change. After arrival at the jail and upon a search of his person, Correction Officer Kenneth Ray found a pill bottle in the waistband of Garrett's underwear. The bottle contained 2.5 pills believed to be xanax. Bond for Garrett is $2,500 and his court date is July 22nd.

Smithville Police arrested Garrett again on Thursday, July 15th for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. Officer Scott Davis stopped Garrett for a traffic violation. While speaking with Garrett, Officer Davis smelled an odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle. As Garrett got out of his vehicle, Officer Davis asked if he had anything illegal on his person and if a search could be conducted. During the search, a small bag of marijuana was found inside the waistband of his clothes. Garrett's court date is July 22nd.

20 year old Alfredo Viel of 106 West Point Road was recently arrested by K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow for hit and run and driving without a license. Viel turned himself in for a hit and run accident that occurred on June 11th on Bright Hill Road. Viel told police that he wrecked his vehicle and fled the scene due to not having a driver's license. His court date is August 12th.

26 year old Aninius Oliven Aguiler of 721 South Mountain Street was arrested on Saturday, July 10th for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow responded to a hit and run on Miller Road. Upon arrival Officer Tatrow spoke with both drivers involved in the accident. Aguiler admitted to leaving the scene as the accident occurred at the intersection of Miller Road and South Mountain Street. During the investigation, Officer Tatrow noticed a strong odor of a fermented beverage on Aguiler's person. Aguiler told Officer Tatrow that he had drank five beers. Aguiler submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is August 12th.

29 year old Eric A. Bradshaw of 530 Miller Road was recently arrested for domestic assault by Corporal Travis Bryant. The victim stated that when Bradshaw got home, he was in a bad mood and they started to fight. She claims he struck her about the face and head. Bond for Bradshaw is $5,000 and his court date is July 22nd.

35 year old Christol Dayn McVickers of 848 Foster Road was arrested on Monday, July 12th for theft of property. On Saturday, July 10th Officer Scott Davis took a report from Britta Strayn concerning the theft of her wallet. According to Ms. Strayn, she arrived at work and placed her purse where the other female employees put their purses and went to work. Later she went to get some money and discovered that her wallet was missing. Surveillance video showed McVickers in the area where Ms. Strayn's purse was at the time of the theft. Detective Matt Holmes interviewed McVickers on Monday and she allegedly admitted to taking Ms. Strayn's wallet. Her bond is $1,000 and her court date is July 22nd.

18 year old Clay Andrew Bain of 628 Lakeview Drive was arrested on Thursday, July 15th for disorderly conduct. According to the warrant, Bain went to the Dairy Queen and began yelling and using profanity toward an employee there causing annoyance and alarm. Bain allegedly admitted the offense to Officer James Cornelius. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is July 29th.

38 year old Maria Kathleen Smith of Earl Avenue was cited for shoplifting on Friday, July 16th. Smith was observed by employees taking items from Wal-Mart. Sergeant Joey Jones issued the citation. Her court date is July 22nd.

Meanwhile, anyone having any information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Tuesday, June 29th someone entered two vehicles at Chad Auto Sales at 317 West Broad Street taking the stereos from them.

On Thursday, July 8th, an employee of UCHRA was pulling into the parking lot when he noticed two white males stealing gas from the agency's vans. When they saw the employee the suspects jumped in their van and drove away.

On Tuesday, July 13th Ronald Wisniewski stated that sometime around midnight on Allen's Ferry Road someone took the front grill off a 2006 Chevrolet pickup.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

More Suites and Chapel Included in New Addition to Webb House Retirement Center

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Lora Webb with Construction Workers at Webb House
Construction Worker Pouring Concrete for Sidewalk

Construction is progressing on the new addition to the Webb House Retirement Center in Smithville and the work should be finished within a few weeks.

Lora Webb says the new 8,000 to 9,000 square foot addition will include more new suites and a chapel, among other amenities. "Right now the Webb House (addition) is about 75% finished with construction. We are finalizing some painting and getting ready to put floor covering in and cabinetry. We're just really excited about it."

"We're going to have a lot more space to do activities and exercise. The residents are going to love this new area we have to play cards in. It's just a quiet little nook."

"The thing we are most thankful for and excited about is our chapel. It can hold probably 50 to 60 people and it is like none other. It just gives us cold chills to take the residents there and give them a little tour of it right now and just to visualize the usage that the residents are going to get out of this area. It's going to be a real special amenity to our home."

"The buildings are tied together and the new one looks just like the existing building. We have nine new rooms. We don't want to get too big that we lose the home feeling. We have four different style suites including our studio and alcove one bedroom apartments. We also have a new room. It's a companion room. It gives people a price break. In this companion room, they'll have a roommate. They will have a lot of private space but they share the living space."

"We've moved our laundry room. The kitchen needed to expand so we are expanding the kitchen and moving the laundry room. We have a new storage room. We have a couple of new offices, another public restroom, and we've increased our walking track outside which is really nice."

"We're looking for a huge grand opening probably in early fall."

"We just invite people to come out. It's pretty much at the stage now where you can see where we're going with this. This next month is really going to wrap up things."

The addition is being built by Brindley Construction Company of Pulaski. Concrete work is being done by Bimp's Concrete and Construction.

DeKalb County Schools Re-Open August 2nd

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will re-open in August

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 2nd. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Registration for students new to DeKalb County grades 9-12 will be July 19 & 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at DeKalb County High School. Please bring the following with you: Proof of Residence, Birth Certificate, Immunization Record, and any school Records. For more information, please call 597-2249.

The Fifth Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Monday, August 2nd from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square. For more information, contact Michelle Burklow at 597-4084

Thursday, August 5th will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students will be Tuesday, August 3rd. Wednesday, August 4th will also be a full day of school.

DeKalb County will host the first teacher in-service for the 2010-11 school year on Thursday, July 22nd at the First Baptist Life Enrichment Center on Church Street. Registration will be from 7:30 a.m. until 7:55 a.m. with Kimberly Carraway beginning the day speaking on the topic "Applying Brain Research to the Classroom" at 8:00 a.m.

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 26th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to DCHS from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27th . All teachers will then report to their individual schools Tuesday, July 27th from noon until 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Registration for students eligible for 21st Century Community Learning Centers After School program will be held at DeKalb West School, DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb County High School on Monday, August 2nd during school wide registration.

Students eligible to attend will be presented a packet of materials including registration forms that must be returned on Tuesday, August 3rd with all information completed.

21st Century Community Learning Centers After School Program will begin on Monday, August 9th from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Programs are designed to meet local and state performance standards in core academic subjects including math, reading/literacy, and science. Art, music and drama activities along with field trips will be included. The program is free with transportation provided.

Registration for the voluntary pre-kindergarten program in the DeKalb County School system will be conducted on Monday, August 2nd at Smithville Elementary School and DeKalb West School.

Children may be registered that day from 7:45 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

Clay Farler, Director of the Pre-K program and Attendance Supervisor, says state funding provides for a total of four pre-k classes at Smithville Elementary School and one class at DeKalb West School.

Farler says eligible children must be four years of age by September 30th and their parents must meet the federal income guidelines. "Parents should bring their four year old child to registration along with the youngster's birth certificate, record of a physical examination within the last year, and the child's immunization record.

Early Voting for August Elections Begins Today (Friday)

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Beginning Friday, July 16, registered voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the August 5 state primary and county general elections.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections for DeKalb County, is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting.

“Local voters have come to enjoy the benefits and convenience of voting early,” Administrator Stanley said. “Voters can vote at their convenience and not worry about rushing to the polls on Election Day.”

“In November 2008, approximately 58 percent of the registered voters who voted in the election in Tennessee took advantage of early voting,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I expect a significant number of voters to vote early this election as well.”

Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins will be kicking off the first day of early voting by casting his own ballot.
“Early voting is convenient and has become very popular in Tennessee,” Coordinator Goins said. “I know I will be busy on Election Day, so voting early ensures my vote will be cast within my schedule. It just makes sense to vote at a time convenient to me.”

For people who cannot or would prefer not to vote on Election Day, early voting provides an additional 14-day period to cast ballots, including three Saturdays this election year. Voters may vote in their county general elections, as well as the state primary elections. Voters choosing to vote in the state primaries will select either the Republican or Democrat ballot.

DeKalb County will be conducting early voting at the DeKalb County Courthouse. The hours for early voting will be 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. Early voting ends Saturday, July 31.

The DeKalb County General Election features only one county-wide contested race, two contested district county commission races, and three contested district races for the school board.

Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Kenny Edge will face Democratic challenger James D. Sprague.

The contested county commission races are in the fifth and seventh districts.

Candidates in the fifth district are Republican Jerry Adcock, Democratic incumbent John Green, Democrat Bobby Taylor, and Independent candidate Lloyd Emmons. Two will be elected.

In the seventh district, the candidates are Democratic candidate Jimmy Poss, Democratic incumbent Larry Summers, and Independent candidate Richard Kinsey. Two will be elected.

The second, third, and fourth district school board races are also contested.

In the second district, Incumbent Charles L. Robinson faces a challenge from Jerry W. Johnson. Johnathan Willoughby will try to unseat Incumbent Kenny Rhody in the third district while in the fourth district, the candidates are Billy S. Miller and Larry Redmon.

School board candidates do not run as Republicans or Democrats, but as Independents.

Meanwhile, the following candidates on the DeKalb County General Election ballot are unopposed:

Circuit Court Judge Part 1: Amy V. Hollars.

District Attorney General: Randall A. York

County Mayor: Mike Foster

Trustee: Sean Driver

Sheriff: Patrick Ray

Circuit Court Clerk: Katherine Pack

County Clerk: Mike Clayborn

Register of Deeds: Jeff McMillen

County Commission (1st district):
Mason Carter
Elmer Ellis, Jr.

County Commission (2nd district)
Bobby Joines
Jack E, Barton, III

County Commission (3rd district)
Bradley Hendrix
Jerry Scott

County Commission (4th district)
Wayne Cantrell
David McDowell

County Commission (6th district)
Jeff Barnes
Marshall Ferrell

School Board Member (1st district)
John D. Foutch

School Board Member (7th district)
Johnny Lattimore

The general election ballot also includes two Judicial Retention Questions, asking whether Sharon Gail Lee shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court; and whether John W. McClarty shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Eastern Division.

Meanwhile, the three incumbent aldermen in the City of Dowelltown will be unopposed for re-election, Bradley Driver, Keith Farler, and Ronald Griffith.

Candidates for Governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary include Bill Haslam, Joe Kirkpatrick, Basil Marceaux, Sr., Ron Ramsey, and Zach Wamp.

Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Diane Black, Dave Evans, Gary Dewitt Mann, Bruce McLellan, Kerry E. Roberts, Jim Tracy, and Lou Ann Zelnik

Republican candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Incumbent Mae Beavers and challengers Gordon Borck, and Susan M. Lynn

Republican candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District is Incumbent Terry Lynn Weaver.

Republican State Executive Committeeman 17th district candidates are C. Brent Baldwin, Albert B. McCall, Sr. and Bob Ousley. One can be nominated.

Republican State Executive Committeewoman 17th district, Susan C. Witcher.

Meanwhile Mike McWherter is the only candidate for Governor in the Tennessee Democratic Primary.

Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Henry Clay Barry, Devora E. Butler, Brett Carter, George T. Erdel, and Ben Leming

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Aubrey T. Givens, Sam Hatcher, and George McDonald

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District are James C. Hale and Jamie Winkler.

David R. Harper is the only Democratic candidate for State Executive Committeeman in the 17th District.

Two Democratic candidates, Mary A. Patterson and Baylor Bone Swindell are seeking the position of State Executive Committeewoman in the 17th District.

Aldermen Propose Setting Aside Funds to Buy a Ladder Truck for City Fire Department

July 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

Smithville aldermen have penciled in more spending in the proposed new budget and plan to set aside $400,000 from the general fund surplus to go toward the purchase of a ladder truck for the city volunteer fire department.

None of the proposed new expenditures would require an increase in the city property tax rate but it would reduce the size of the general fund surplus and that is something that Mayor Taft Hendrixson is not happy about.

The mayor and aldermen met in a workshop session Tuesday evening to review the proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year which has not yet been adopted and to consider budget requests from department heads.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker, among other requests, renewed his appeal for a ladder truck, something members of the fire department have long wanted and say the city needs. Parker says the department would like to have a new ladder truck, but that could cost as much as $900,000 so, he says, if the city could find a good used truck, that would be okay too.

Alderman Steve White, who proposed putting aside the $400,000 for the truck, said while the general fund surplus would be impacted, it would by no means be depleted. "It's not like we're spending all of our reserve. We will still have, I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.8 or $2.9 million in the general fund (surplus) after everything comes out that should be in this budget. The main thing is the safety of our residents and our firefighters and the protection of their properties."

White adds that he is convinced the city needs a ladder truck. "I feel like that we've really needed the ladder truck for quite a few years. The Moog disaster is one big example in my opinion. The City of Smithville and DeKalb County lost a factory with probably 250 employees and on the other side of it is safety. The ladder truck is going to pump a lot more water and the firefighters will be able to put the water where it definitely needs to be. Of course time is of essence in a fire and getting the water where it needs to be and as much water as possible is the big thing there."

" It ($400,000) won't buy a new truck and it may not buy a real good used truck but I think that with Charlie and with Wink, one of the firefighters that we have, I think that they should be able to find a real good used truck that's still in good shape that would still last us for probably twelve or fifteen years down the road. If things change and we can't find one, then we can let that (fund) grow and then go from there. I think that the market right now, especially with times being tough, that there will be some good deals out there and we will be able to find a real good truck for that."

Aaron Meeks, alderman and police and fire commissioner, says he too supports the proposal to set aside funds for a ladder truck. "It's something they have had on their wish list, I guess for some period of time. It is more or less a set aside (fund) toward the purchase of a vehicle. If a good used vehicle for that price could be found, then we could proceed with purchasing it. This is a procedure we have used in the past. It is the procedure we used to build the new fire hall. It is something that, relying upon our fire chief, is needed and I think he is a very reliable person. I know a lot of people say we don't have enough three story buildings. But you have most all of the downtown stores and businesses that our fire department cannot reach with the equipment that they currently have and if a major fire broke out in the downtown area we could lose a whole city block or more without equipment to fight it. Of course we all remember the problem at Moog without the proper equipment to fight that (fire) so we also have the factories that should be taken into consideration when we think about a ladder truck."

Some may brand these aldermen as "big spenders" by making such a proposal, but Alderman Meeks says he doesn't see it that way. "The four other members and myself on that board, I would consider very conservative when it comes to spending money. But when there are needs that may have been delayed and postponed and that we recognize these are legitimate needs of the community, I think all of us step up and address that and we certainly are not big spenders, I think our records will indicate that's the case. But there comes a time when you can postpone and postpone and postpone and sometimes that costs you twice as much as it would have cost you had you done it in a timely fashion."

Fire Chief Parker says a ladder truck would aid the department in fighting fires at two and three story buildings, and help in maintaining and possibly improving the city's ISO insurance rating. "In the ISO grading system a couple of years ago, they looked at our city, the buildings, the way we answer calls, the hydrant system, they analyzed all of that and this ISO is what all the citizens of Smithville's insurance rating is based on inevitably. The lower the ISO or insurance rating, the cheaper your insurance is going to be. So we really try to cater to this ISO rating."

"One of their recommendations was for us to have a ladder truck. It will help give us some points to lower our rating. Of course, the first thing everybody starts to say, when they think about a ladder truck, is that we don't have but one three story building so why do we need a ladder truck? It is for reaching up to second and third floor buildings and structures. What a lot of people don't think about is the downtown area where we have the Bicentennial building, which is a three story on the front and a four story in the back. But there's no way we could get to it at all if it was on fire. We barely could ladder the courthouse. The Studio Six fire we had downtown, we had to call Smithville Electric (for a bucket truck) before we could get on top of that building. That's only a two story building but the way the facades are around the building, and where Garrett Insurance is located, there's no way we could get on top of those buildings. If we get a fire in those buildings or on the roof of them, there's not a thing we can do about it. It's pretty much going to go, the whole city block. We've been lucky. We've had a couple of fires in the downtown district before. They (buildings) are very unstable about trying to put ground ladders on, even those low to the ground. The fire walls in them are very shaky and it's very, very risky for firefighters to be on a ladder through there so they need a device where they wouldn't have to be on the building or against the building in case it fell."

"McMinnville purchased a ladder truck a few years ago and two years ago they had a fire in their downtown district. One of their captains was quoted that if they had not had that ladder truck at the time of the fire in McMinnville they would have lost a whole city block. They credit saving the block to having that ladder truck on site with early detection and they got in there and made a really good stop at it. He said if they hadn't had that aerial device they wouldn't have been able to stop it."

"Ladder trucks, probably half of their use is on one and two story structures anyway. When you look at other fire departments around the country, they use them on single story dwellings, getting up in the roof and attic area so they can do that safely. They don't have to be on the building or on the roof where you could have a collapse and the firefighter goes through. They use them on one and two story buildings all the time. So it's not just for three story buildings. We do have several buildings that are classified as three story because the way ISO grades them is where the eave height would be even thirty feet. So some of these buildings, when you get thirty feet up to try to get a ladder on top of them it's pretty dangerous. There's a good part of it that's firefighter safety too".

"Another aspect is the fire flow that's needed for the factories we have. That's part of the ISO equation. When they look at how much water we can actually flow to a big fire like we had at Moog. A ladder truck typically has a bigger pump. It can flow more water and that actually helps our flow rating for some of these bigger factories, big structures, and cabinet shops. The amount of materials they have in them that will burn and combust takes a certain amount of water flow and right now we're not even coming close to meeting some of those if we had a full out fire. So this helps to meet some of the water flow."

"This is not a vehicle we're going to use every day. It's a secondary or standby vehicle. We'll use it when we have bigger structure fires. We know and understand it's not going to be one that's used day in and day out. But it is one of those pieces of equipment that when you need it, you need it now and you really don't have time to wait. Time is of the essence in the fire business. We need to be there quick."

Chief Parker adds that if the city can't afford a new ladder truck, he believes $400,000 would be enough to buy a good used truck. "We've been looking at ladder trucks for the last several years. We've watched the prices rise from $600,000 to $700,000, to $800,000 and with all the new safety things that go on them, emission controls, and more, it just keeps going up. We would love to have a new truck, but we know it's not something that's going to be used all the time. Larger departments often trade them in for newer models so we can get one (used) that would still serve us perfectly fine in that price range ($400,000)."

The aldermen penciled in another $13,000 to the fire department budget, not as an increase per fire call, but to supplement firefighters for work, such as testing hoses and hydrants, etc.

$20,000 will be included as a capital outlay expense for an air compressor to support the firefighters breathing packs

The department will be budgeted a $4,000 uniform allowance

Plans are also to purchase a vehicle, possibly a pickup truck as a capital outlay expense, to transport firefighters to training or to run errands for the department so that they don't have to use the other emergency vehicles or their own automobiles.

The mayor and aldermen may consider first reading passage of the new budget Monday night, July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

City Fathers Advised to Hike Water and Sewer Rates

July 14, 2010
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville hasn't increased sewer rates in several years and water rates haven't been adjusted since 1998, but a rate hike may be coming soon for city water and sewer subscribers with the passage of the proposed budget for 2010-11.

During a workshop meeting Tuesday evening, Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the city's financial consultant reminded the mayor and aldermen that the water and sewer fund is currently in the "red" and she warned that if this continues for more than two years, the state could step in and force a rate hike sufficient to make the operation financially self supporting.

Jackson said according to the proposed new budget, the city's water and sewer fund was projected to finish the year on June 30th, 2010 in the red by $306,464 but actual hard numbers, when finalized, may be somewhat less. "Originally in the budget for 2010, we projected a possible $415,000 loss. In revisions we have lowered expenses somewhat and we have revised the budget to show a $306,000 loss. In looking at numbers right now which have not been finalized, I can tell you there will definitely be a loss for the 2010 year. Hard numbers. It's in the red over $100,000 and I'm not sure where the numbers are going to end up but you are in the red. So for 2010 you definitely had a loss."

According to Jackson, even with the proposed rate increases, the water and sewer fund might actually end next fiscal year June 30th, 2011 in the ‘red" again. "With the proposed rate increases that we have, I'm still projecting that you may have a loss. We try to look at what you've spent before and factor in some inflation. Sometimes we don't know what insurance increases are going to be or the electricity costs so we try to have a little room in there for more. But we're proposing a $155,000 loss in 2011 with these rate increases. We're not giving you a huge overage but you're getting at least to a better point. When you go for ten or twelve years and don't do any increases you can't just do a nickel raise and say ‘oh we've fixed the problem'. What concerns me is the fact that 2010 does have a loss and 2011 with these rate increases may have a loss where the state could possibly come in that third year and say, if you've lost money two years in a row we're going to set your rates for you. By implementing some rate increases now I think you're getting yourself headed in the right direction."

According to the current water and sewer rates, a customer with a minimum monthly bill pays $7.12 plus tax. Under the new rates, the same customer with a minimum monthly bill would pay $10.00 plus tax.

If a customer uses 4,000 gallons per month, he now pays $30.60 plus tax. Under the new rates, the same customer using 4,000 gallons per month would pay $40.00 plus tax.

Specifically, the rate for city water customers would increase from the current level of $3.50 to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus a $1.50 increase from the current rate of $3.50 to $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates would increase to $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, would increase from the current level of $3.62 for a flat usage rate to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus a $1.75 cent increase from the current rate of $3.25 to $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $1.90 per thousand gallons but would increase to $1.95 beginning with January 1st, 2011 sales.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits would jump from $400 to $600 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee would go from $400 to $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 would increase from $525 to $800 for a three quarter inch line. Fees would go from $525 to $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

The mayor and aldermen may consider first reading passage of the new budget Monday night, July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.


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