A new law now makes it easier to vote an absentee ballot, at least for persons of a certain age.
Governor Bill Haslam recently signed into law a measure adopted this winter by the legislature that lowers the absentee voting age from 65 to 60. The law goes into effect immediately and is set to expire in five years.
In summary, the measure “allows persons age 60 and older to vote absentee upon request, instead of age 65 and older.”
“This measure brings some consistency to the state’s Photo ID law,” said Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections.
“Voters who cast ballots by the absentee process do not have to provide a photo ID,” said Stanley, “and a driver’s license is one of the most used forms of photo identification for those who vote at the polls. Currently, Tennessee law does not require motorists age 60 and over to have a photo on their driver’s license. This bill lowers the absentee voting age to coincide with the driver’s license law.”
Meanwhile, Stanley said absentee requests for the June 19 Smithville Municipal Election are now being accepted. The last day to request an absentee ballot is June 12 and all ballots must be returned to the election office by the close of the polls on June 19.
“There is a process for voting absentee, but it is a simple process,” Stanley continued. “A voter must request an absentee ballot by filling out a particular form or mailing a letter to the election office with specific information.”
“The request must include the voter’s name, the address on the voter’s registration card, an address to mail the absentee ballot, the voter’s social security number, the election in which they wish to vote and the legal reason for voting absentee,” he said.
The legal reasons for voting absentee include: age 60 and over, the voter will be outside the county during the early voting period and election day, a doctor’s statement stating the voter is medically unable to vote in person, the voter is a member of the military or a family member to the member of the military, he/she reside in a licensed facility that provides relatively permanent domiciliary care, the voter is hospitalized, the voter is a caretaker of someone who is hospitalized, ill or physically disabled, the voter is disabled and their polling place is inaccessible, the voter is a candidate, an overseas citizen, an election official or will be on jury duty in a state or federal court, and the voter has a Commercial Driver’s License and will be out of the county during the early voting period and election day.
The form must be signed by the voter and the election office will then verify the signature and information on the form before mailing the ballot.
A 48 year old man was injured in a go-cart accident Thursday night on Holmes Creek Road.
Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Thomas Daniel Easterwood was south on Holmes Creek Road on a large go-cart when he hit loose gravels on the right shoulder, lost control, crossed back over the roadway, and overturned. The go-cart came to final rest on its side at the edge of the road in the grass. The mishap was reported around 7:37 p.m.
Easterwood was airlifted from the scene by an Air Evac helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. He reportedly suffered non-life threatening injuries including a compound fracture of an arm, bruises, and road rash.
Members of the Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.
Opponents of a proposed DeKalb Utility District water plant crowded into a small meeting room and hallway Thursday afternoon for a special DUD board meeting at the utility's office building.
(CLICK PLAY BUTTON BELOW TO HEAR DUD BOARD MEETING THURSDAY)
Many of them spoke out against the board's decision to build the plant, saying it is not needed and that it will cause rate increases for subscribers. The DUD currently purchases its water supply from the City of Smithville. Board chairman Roger Turney took comments and questions from the audience for about an hour and forty five minutes, before the board took action on a bond resolution for the project.
Four of the five board members voted in favor of the resolution, including Chairman Turney, Joe Foutch, Danny Bass, and Jimmy Womack. Board member Hugh Washer voted against the resolution.
The board also voted to amend its debt management policy.
The legal notice for the meeting said that the bond resolution is for the authorization and issuance of not to exceed $9-million 250-thousand dollars in aggregate principal amount of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds
During the meeting, Turney explained what that means. "In essence what it does is, it gives the bond council the right to go into negotiations to set up and to see just what qualifications we'll have. What our bond rating will be and what the bonds will cost. No obligation will go forward. If something happens, we can back out of that and change it, but this gives them the permission to go on and find out exactly to the penny what our bonds will cost, what the interest rate will be, what the interest rate will be for those who buy them, and what the final cost will be," said Turney.
After the board's vote, several residents, already passoniate in their opposition, left the meeting even more upset.
The following are some of the comments made during the meeting by opponents of the water plant.
John Daniels, a City of Smithville water customer, first asked why the DUD board held its meeting at 3:00 p.m., an inconvenient time for most people, and in such a small room unsuitable for a large crowd. Turney later explained that the meetings are typically held at this time and location and he blamed a media campaign authorized by the City of Smithville for spreading misinformation about the DUD's plans." This is not a new idea. We have been discussing the possibility of a water treatment plant for ten years. I'll be honest with you. Most of the group here today is because of a vast majority of misinformation that was handed out at the behest of the City of Smithville. A lot of the information has been drastically misunderstood and misrepresented. Obviously, there's been a lot of money spent sending out calls, newspaper ads, and letters to all the customers, which is fine. But a lot of the information was not correct," said Turney.
Daniels also questioned the need for a second water plant in DeKalb County. "How many times has the water ever been down in Smithville," he asked? " I've lived here for 34 years. I've never seen us without water, ever. Most other places don't have redundancy (more than one water plant) either. It seems foolish to me to have two systems with one of them only running at 45% (capacity)," said Daniels.
Turney said "Our major concern is DUD customers. We buy our water from Smithville. Every year that water rate goes up because the rate from Smithville goes up every year. Our contract (with Smithville) runs out in eighteen months. We looked to the future. We had our auditors and several different other people look at the possibility of continuing to buy water from Smithville or produce our own water. In the long run all the projections come back that our water rates will go down or not go up as much because we will have the capacity to control our own expense and not have to depend on Smithville," said Turney.
Dwayne Cantrell of New Hope Road, a DUD customer, challenged the board to fix water pressure problems in the existing system, before taking on a new project. Cantrell said he and many of his neighbors have had to install water pumps under their homes due to the lack of pressure in DUD lines which are too small. "I shouldn't have to have a $400 water pump under my house in order to take a shower," he said.
DUD Manager Jon Foutch said the utility is applying for a CDBG grant through the county commission to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which if approved, would address water pressure problems in some areas. "If we were to get the grant, it would be for that area around Dismal to build a water tank. Being that much higher, we have customers like you in mind and also at Jenkins Hill where they have low pressure and that would take care of that problem," said Foutch.
Robert Kirkham, a resident of Anderson Ridge Road at Silver Point, said the DUD should try to get a water line run via Hurricane Bridge so customers in his community could get water cheaper. "Cookeville sells to Baxter, Baxter sells to DUD, and DUD sells to us. By that time, its pretty expensive, he said. "Why not take this opportunity to put water across the bridge as they (TDOT) are refurbishing Hurricane bridge and relieve us of triple taxation for water we get. We also have almost no fire hydrants anywhere in our area," he added.
In response, Turney said "We are concerned about the water bills of customers at Silver Point. We have looked at every possible way to handle that. The problem is it was over $500,000 to put that pipe (casing) on that bridge (Hurricane bridge). No water line, just the pipe. We have no water line to it (bridge) and no water line on the other side of it. If we had gone through the whole process of hooking that up, putting the pipe across the bridge and putting in the water line, the whole bit, probably everybody's bill, the whole district would have had to have been doubled just so that you all (at Silver Point) could have a cheaper rate. That's unfortunate that your rate is higher but we can't get grants for this because it doesn't serve new customers, its existing customers. You can't get grants for existing customers. You get grants for new customers. My hope is that eventually, if we can get to the point where we can control more of our own money, we may be able to do something like that (connect DUD lines directly to Silver Point) but right now we can't. If Baxter had not been willing to let you (Silver Point customers) have water, you probably wouldn't have any water at all today. Is it better to have a high water bill with water, or no water bill and no water," asked Turney?
Tommy Curtis of Hurricane Ridge Road, called for a referendum of DUD customers to gauge support for a new water plant. "Why can't we have a referendum to let the voters on the water system now cast a vote as to whether we want this done and let some independent group count the ballots. You're not giving us any choice and we're the ones who are going to have to pay the bill," he said.
Fifth District County Commissioner Jerry Adcock, a DUD customer, said he would like to see a change in the law to require DUD board members to be elected by those they serve. Currently, board members are appointed by their county commissions, according to Adcock. Names of likely appointees are apparently submitted by the DUD itself to the county commissions for consideration.
Charlie Rush of LaFevre Ridge Road suggested that DUD keep buying its water supply from Smithville." You have a perfectly good water plant on the other side of town, operating at 50% capacity. What in God's name do we need to be wasting money to build another one and bankrupting the first one," he said.
Randy Rhody of Cookeville Highway, said DUD customers should have been made aware of this project from the start and given the opportunity for input early on. "A lot of the problem is poor communication," he said. We've had no public forum. We've not been involved in any of the decision making on it. A lot of this is causing a lot of bad will between the city and the county. That's unfortunate. We need to all get along and work together. We've had no problem in getting water. To me, if you vote yes, then you're thrusting higher costs on all the residents of the DUD and you'll be remembered for this mismanagement. I think it's a mistake and I think most people think it's a mistake. We've not been involved in the process. Had we all been sold on this, we would be behind you. That hasn't happened. It seems the decision has been made in a closet and people haven't been informed and don't know. All the things I've heard so far sounds like this is not needed," said Rhody.
Robbie Taylor of New Home Road said the DUD should consider people on fixed incomes who can't afford higher water bills. " DeKalb County doesn't have a lot of rich people," she said. " A lot of people are on fixed incomes. We've got a lot of elderly people and our income don't go up much. I've always heard if anything is not broke, don't fix it. I don't see anything is broke. I think we should leave it like it is," she added.
Some suggested that the DUD's desire in building this water plant is to expand its service area into Rutherford County. Turney denied that notion saying that the DUD simply wants control of its own destiny. "There's been talk of selling water to Rutherford County. That's my fault. I mentioned at our last meeting of possibilities of places that could use water. I mentioned Rutherford County. We haven't talked to Rutherford County and they haven't talked to us. Again, that's being blown out of proportion to try to get people stirred up. We have no intent of selling to Rutherford County. Now, if someday they would like to tie into us, that would be a cash cow. That would give us income that would lower everybody's bill. But we're not even looking to do that. What we're trying to do is make the rates for DUD customers as reasonable as possible, to provide water and keep it down as best we can," said Turney.
Turney also argued that DUD water rates, while increasing seven percent each year over the next three years, will actually stabilize, if not decrease in time with this new plant. "We had to project to the state what our rate increases would be in order to pay for this grant, loan, and this water treatment plant. Our board passed a seven percent rate increase for this year, seven percent next year, and seven percent the third year with the stipulation that the third year that seven percent increase may not be that much. Let's talk about what that really means. Our minimum bill right now is $17.50. At the end of that three years, the minium bill will go up four dollars and twenty cents. That's the price of 1.2 gallons of gas today. That's not going to break anybody. I don't want anybody's water rate to go up but that's a small price to pay. We figure that our average customer uses about 6,000 gallons. Their water bill now is around $44.00. At the end of the three year period, their water bill will go up $10.50," he said.
Turney also believes that having two water plants in the county would be better than one, especially in the event of some catastrophic episode. "What if something happens, and it did happen sometime ago. A flood came and Smithville was short of water for a while. Thank goodness it wasn't a disaster. It could have been. What happens if that plant goes down. Where do you get your water? There's no other place. With two treatment plants, we can benefit Smithville and they can benefit us and I firmly believe that in the long run not only will DUD customers be happy that we did this, but the City of Smithville will be happy we did it. We can help each other," said Turney.
The DeKalb Utility District serves parts of a four county area, DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson.
USDA Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new Raw Water Intake, Raw Water Transmission Line, Water Treatment Plant and distribution system improvements. The proposed plant will be constructed near Holmes Creek Road and will have a capacity of three million gallons per day. The intake will be on Center Hill Lake, the Transmission Line along Holmes Creek Road and distribution lines will be along Allen's Chapel, Game Ridge, Turner, South Tittsworth, and Big Rock Roads, and Wheeler Lane.
The DUD will receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 to fund construction of the water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility will be funded through a bond issue. Turney said that the DUD is also refinancing other loans to save money. "In this loan and grant we have applied for, we're refinancing some of the loans we already have at a savings of over $400,000 on the money that we have right now because of the historically low interest rates. The time is right. Everything that we've looked at says this is the time to do it," he said.
As Turney mentioned, this is not the first time the DUD has seriously considered building its own water treatment plant. In January, 1999 the DUD was awarded a $1 million Rural Development Grant and a $2,380,000 loan. In addition to the money for the water plant, another $500,000 was made available to the project from a Community Development Block Grant for an elevated water storage tank which now stands at the top of Snow Hill. The tank was built to solve the problem of water pressure in some areas.
However when it came time to build the water plant, the DUD apparently discovered that the costs were much more than the available grant/loan funds. While DUD had sufficient local reserves to make up the difference and assurances from Rural Development for extra financial help if needed, the DUD decided instead to enter into negotiations with the City of Smithville for a new water rate. Some of the loan/grant funds were later used to make other improvements to the existing infrastructure.
DeKalb Middle School held their 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony on May 18th. Eighth grader, Troy Bain, conducted the opening prayer. Mr. Randy Jennings began the welcome and introduced Mr. Mark Willoughby, who delivered a speech to the students.
Mrs. Fletcher then recognized the 13 students who scored a 6 on the TCAP Writing test. Mrs. Hendrix and Mrs. Sullivan gave certificates to all of the 8th Grade Jr. Beta members, and Mr. Jones gave the FCA award to Troy Bain.
Mrs. Pelham gave the TTU Math Award to Max Pafford, and Mrs. Bryant gave the Computer Awards to Delaney Johnson and Kaitlin Rhea. Perfect Attendance Awards were given to Ryan Lafever and Haden Cripps.
Citizenship plaques were given to Rachel Butts, Emerald McClanahan, and Jorden Smoot. Yearbook Awards were given to Kaitlin Rhea and Kyra Slager. The Woodmen of the World Award was presented to Max Pafford. Sy Gohs was given the Improvement Award.
Subject Awards were given to: Caitlin Turner and Chloe White- Science, Erin Perry and Maggie Mahaffey- English, Chase Bryant, Jaidyn Huggins, and Eli Oliver- Social Studies, Seth Wright and West Vettraino- Math, Caitlin Jacobs, Chloe Young, Noah Parsley, Harley Johnson, and Ashli Chew- Reading.
Top Ten GPA plaques were given to: Caitlin Turner, Eli Oliver, Max Pafford, Ashli Chew, West Vettraino, Noah Parsley, Mackenzie Keaton, Chase Bryant, Seth Wright, and Caitlin Jacobs.
Mrs. Karen Pelham was presented with a Teacher of the Year plaque. DCHS student, Hunter Collins, gave a speech to the students, and then Mr. Jennings closed the ceremony.
For thirty years, Rebecca Baugh has been carrying on a family tradition as a teacher.
"Teaching is in my family," she said. "My father taught forty five years. My mother taught nineteen or twenty years. I have aunts, uncles, sisters, and nieces who are teachers. I think I was born to be a teacher," said Baugh.
For the last five years, Baugh has served an a fifth grade Special Education Inclusion Teacher st Northside Elementary School. However due to her husband's recent stroke and concern for her own health, Baugh has chosen to retire from teaching. "My husband had a stroke in October. I have had some health issues. I think I need to slow down and be more available for him and make sure my health stays good. Teaching days are long and stressful. I am hoping to de-stress a little bit," she said.
Baugh's teaching career began shortly after she graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1970. Altogether, she has taught for a total of thirty years, taking a few years off along the way. "There were some years when my children were small that I didn't teach. I haven't taught straight through," she said.
Over the years, Baugh has taught in several different school systems and grade levels. "I started in Putnam County. Then my husband and I moved to Roane County. I taught in Roane County. Then we moved back to Putnam County. I've taught in White County, Overton County, Smith County, and DeKalb County. I have taught every grade except sixth grade. I've taught pre-school. I had a day care center for eight years. I've taught all the way up through college English," she said.
Still a resident of Cookeville, Baugh has made the commute back and forth from Putnam County to Smithville each day of school for the last five years to go to work, but she didn't mind because of her love for the school and the students. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northside. It is one of the friendliest groups of teachers that I have ever taught with. They made me feel welcome, even though I am not from DeKalb County. They know I love the students and they know I love teaching. It has been a real good experience," she said.
So what is a Special Education Inclusion Teacher?
"An Inclusion Teacher helps the classroom teacher in the academic classes, math and reading," said Baugh. " And if my schedule allows, sometimes I go to writing and English class. But mostly its reading and math. I am the extra teacher that's in there if somebody (student) is struggling with a math problem or struggling with a paragraph in reading. I am available to go around and help students while the teacher goes on with the class. It allows the classroom teacher a little more freedom to not have to stop the class for specific students. We can just go on. I help them catch up. I work with special education students but I'm allowed to help any student that needs help in the class. It has worked real well," she said.
Baugh said while she likes some changes that have come along in education, teachers today are under more pressure, making their job much more stressful " When I was in Smith County we did pull out for Special Education students and then I came up here and its inclusion in the classroom. When I was in school myself in elementary school, special ed students were not even identified. So things have changed quite a bit. I like the fact that students are identified that need extra help or maybe sometimes, just extra time to finish an assignment. If they are given extra time, a lot of times they can do grade level work and stay caught.up. I like a lot of the things that are taking place now in education. But with the evaluations and all the new things they have thrown in all at once, that's where the extra pressure comes. Everything is so fast, you have to learn new things they give you at the beginning of the year and they almost don't give you any time to absorb the new things they are putting into effect. Its really hard to stay up with the new things," she said.
As she leaves the school system and goes into retirement, Baugh said she is pleased with the opportunity to have been a teacher here and for the support she has received from the administration. "I would like to thank Mr. (Mark) Willoughby and Dr. (Gayle) Redmon for the support. If I hadn't been welcomed the way I was, I might not have taught these last five years. But it was very enjoyable. If my husband hadn't had a stroke, I might want to teach a couple more years. But it's time in my life, with my family situation to let somebody else a little younger pick up and run with it," said Baugh.
Everyone's reason to Relay is as unique as their own personal story. At Relay for Life, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease. You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime.
No matter why you take part in Relay, however, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives.
Come share the Relay experience at Green Brook Park on Friday, June 8 and take pride in knowing that you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone's life.
The 15th annual Relay for Life, sporting the theme "Dancing Under the Stars", begins with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.
As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.
As participants walk the track lined with Luminaria bags in reflection, a caregiver who has lost a loved one may find comfort from a fellow caregiver who has faced a similar loss. Meanwhile, a survivor gains hope and strength from others who have followed the same journey and survived. All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more Luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.
Teams take turns doing laps, but there must be one member from each team on the track at any given time during the 12-hour relay event. While team members off the field can sleep in the tents, most don't. There is a lot of fundraising at the event as well, through concessions, games, and other activities.
As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations
The lineup of musical entertainment and events for this year's Relay is as follows:
5:00 p.m.: Jimmy and Alisha Stephens
5:15 p.m.: Kathy Goodwin
5:30 p.m.: Dessa Ray
5:45 p.m.: Suzanne Slager
Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347
The National Anthem by Suzanne Slager
Invocation by Dwayne Cornelius, Pastor of the New Life Pentecostal Church
Welcome by Ivadell Randolph
Introduction of Cancer Survivors
Song honoring Cancer Survivors by Bonnie Rigsby and Shelley Cross
Prayer for Cancer Survivors by Don Davidson, Pastor of the Real Life Community Church
6:45 p.m.: David Turner & Friends
7:00 p.m.: Page Family
7:15 p.m.: Gather Round Boys
7:30 p.m.: Terry Hodges
7:45 p.m.: Tina Boston
8:00 p.m.: Fluty and the Flutones
8:15 p.m.: First Assembly of God
8:30 p.m.: Kevin Roberts
8:45 p.m.: Wendell Judkins
Prayer by Jeff Armstrong, Pastor of the Smithville Church of God
9:15 p.m.: Smithville Church of God Youth Group
9:30 p.m. New Life Pentecostal Praise Group
9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Chapel Youth Group
11:00 p.m.: 61 Seconds
Midnight: Team Activities Begin
The Dowelltown-Liberty Water System will start painting its water storage tank Thursday. The project will take about thirty days. While the tank is out of service, the utility will be using emergency water hook up, resulting in reduced water pressure and flow. Customers are urged to conserve water and be extremely careful with fire during this time.
The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing's popular Images of America series is DeKalb County from local authors Judy Fuson and Ria Baker. The book, now available in book stores, boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.
Both Fuson and Baker will be available for a book signing at F.Z. Webb and Sons Pharmacy in downtown Alexandria on Friday, May 25 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
The book includes several photographs that have never before been published. The authors tried to include every community in the county in the book, and highlight families from all over. Many old houses are pictured, some that no longer stand and some that are more than 100 years old and still in use.
DeKalb County has a vast and interesting history spanning from Confederate general John Hunt Morgan's raids on the North during the Civil War to the building of Center Hill Dam, which formed a beautiful lake that brings thousands of tourists to the county each year. The lake, encompassing 18,220 acres, displaced thousands of the earliest settlers' descendants along the Caney Fork River.
The state legislature established DeKalb County from parts of surrounding counties in 1837. The county was named after Revolutionary War general Johann DeKalb, while the county seat of Smithville was named after state senator Samuel Granville Smith; neither man was from the county.
Authors Judy Fuson and Ria Baker are lifelong residents of DeKalb County, and many of their ancestors were early settlers of the county. Baker has been compiling historical photographs and information about her hometown of Alexandria for years, and she currently serves as the town's mayor. Fuson taught in the county school system for 30 years, was yearbook advisor for 14 years, and is now retired.
The book is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. The mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit www.arcadiapublishing.com.
F.Z. Webb and Sons Pharmacy of Alexandria will have copies of the book for sale along with a wide selection of Willow Tree figurines, New Case knives and other Case brand items, Fenton Glassware, and more.
The Smithville Fire Department is not the only one getting a new fire truck.
The county commission Monday night voted to purchase a newer pumper for the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, although it will not be a ladder truck like the city is getting.
The truck, a 2011 new chassis, comes with a one year chassis bumper to bumper warranty, six year pump warranty, and a five year warranty on the body and paint. The price is $184,746.
Two other bids were submitted, one for a 2012 truck at $187,859, and a 2011 chassis (demo) with 4,400 miles that comes with a one year chassis bumper to bumper warranty, two year pump warranty, and a ten year warranty on the body and paint. The price for that truck is $179,925.
While the truck the commission voted to buy is not the cheapest of the three bids submitted, County Fire Chief Donny Green said it better meets the department's needs and has a better warranty on the pump. "All three met minimum specs and some had optional standards. But the one that most closely matches what we need to meet minimal requirements plus what we would like to have to match our other trucks is the 2011 truck, priced at $184,746," he said
Green said the lowest priced truck among the three doesn't have the amount of storage capacity that the other truck does and it does not have the same warranty. Plus, it does not have a top mount pump on it.
The newer fire truck will replace the Midway engine which is a 1979 model. By doing this, Green said "we can take the 1975 model truck out of service at the Austin Bottom station and place the 1979 Midway truck at Austin Bottom. This station (Austin Bottom), he said has a low call volume and the 1979 truck should be adequate to "hold them over for a few more years".
Meanwhile, hours and fees have been set for the exercise room in the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard.
During Monday night's county commission meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster reported that the hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Closed from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Re-open from 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
"The cost is $20.00 per month for an individual or $35.00 a month for a family," said Foster. " A family is considered children under 18 years of age that reside in the home. A mother, father, and children under age 18. Annual fees are $350 for a family and $220 for an individual. If someone just wants to come in for a visit, its three dollars," said Foster.
"We're going to put a portion of this money aside to replace the equipment so that we don't wind up with a bunch of equipment that's worn out. The key is maintaining the equipment in good condition. We would ask anybody that's coming there to bring a towel and when they get through exercising to wipe the machine down, and there will be disinfectant wipes there to go over the machines to take care of that. We want to keep it clean, functional and available for use," he said.
Foster stressed that the county is not trying to compete with local business owners offering similar services. "We want the other exercise people to be involved in it, to bring their patrons, families, and participants. They could bring them out there for some special event. We'd like to encourage them to come out there and do some training for us. We can play off of each other, rather than trying to be in competition with them. That's not what we're about out there. We don't want to be in competition with them," said Foster.
Meanwhile, Foster said efforts are underway to get the game room up and running in the new county complex "Most of the equipment has come in for the game room. I met with the people who are going to be putting in the arcade machines and they said they would have their part complete within two weeks. That was last week. The TV's and the games, wii and xboxes, are coming in a little bit each day. We'll be putting them up, trying to have that open within two weeks," he said.
The election commission, which works out of two small offices on the first floor of the courthouse, will be getting another room there to give them more space. "We have removed all of our stuff from the room next to the election commission and turned it over to them," said Foster. "They have shown me what they wanted to get painted (in that room). There are some scratches and cuts on the walls. We'll get those fixed. We want to get that done so that immediately following the city election, which they are involved in now, they will be able to move into that (room), so that (office) has been turned over to them," said Foster.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is expected to let bids this summer on a project to install caution lights at the intersection of Highways 70 and 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.
County Mayor Foster said this project has been in the planning stages for months. The county had asked the state to fund it, but had heard nothing from it. Local officials thought that the county would have to take on the project, but later learned that the state would fund it after all. "We do have a map from TDOT. They have done the survey work and projections are that this will be bid sometime in the first quarter of the (fiscal) year that ends in June, 2013," said Foster. "Basically what that means is they should bid this between July and September, 2012. So hopefully, finally we will see some caution lights there. Part of the hold up was we thought the county was going to have to do it, but we applied for the state to do it. They actually accepted it, but they didn't notify us until we contracted with someone to do the work, then when they (contractors) started asking questions, the state said we are going to do that. We have notified Stansell Electric (contractor) that the state is going to do it we hope sometime between July and September," said Foster.
In other business, the county commission appointed Jim Hodges as a local member to the DeWhite Utility District. "This is basically a formality," said Foster. "We talked with the county mayor from White County. They had sent down three names to be approved. The one that was basically agreed upon was Jim Hodges, who is serving on that committee now. We would just want to ratify that," he said.
A resolution was adopted Monday night by the county commission to re-apply for a Community Development Block Grant through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on behalf of the DeKalb Utility District. Funds from the grant would be used to erect a water tank to create more water storage and improve pressure in the northwestern portion of the county, particularly in the Henley Hollow, Dismal areas.
The county initially submitted an application for this project last year, but the grant funding was denied. " We got turned down for the first go round of that. We had to score 150 points. We scored 149. That grant is going to be re-done and re-submitted. This is a resolution to submit an application to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for community block grant funds. This is a 100% grant. There is no match and it is up to one million dollars," said Foster.
Amanda Maynard, who worked for UCDD at the time the grant application was submitted last year, has left the agency to work for herself. Since she had already done work on this project for the county, the commission Monday night voted transfer administration of this grant application from UCDD to Maynard
"Amanda has done our grants for seven years," said Foster. Amanda has left UCDD and has gone to work for herself. Since she has done the surveys and door to door contacts with people, helped to do the environmental impact, and all those things, we just feel like it is appropriate and in our best interest for us to transfer that grant to her and let her complete it because she has worked on it, off and on for two years. We'll still be a member and partner of UCDD, but we would like for her to serve as the administrator of the grant that she has prepared," said Foster.
Maynard explained that the county came very close to getting approved for the grant last year. "We applied for this grant last year but we missed it just by one point. It is for a water tank in the Henley Hollow area. The DUD buys its water from the City of Smithville, but their water was actually shut off during the floods of 2010. It caused a problem within the (Henley Hollow) community. There wasn't enough water in their tanks to supply the community. This grant would allow them to build another tank and provide more gallons of water for the communities. It (grant) is up to a million dollars. The project cost is actually $850,000. It (grant application) is going to be submitted June 15," said Maynard.
County Mayor Foster updated the commission on the results of the DeKalb County Clean-up day held earlier this month. "We had eighty seven volunteers who averaged three hours each. Litter collected, including tires, junk, etc amounted to 7,135 pounds. We cleaned up approximately twenty five miles of roads, some public land, and part of a dump. We've had four educational/information projects and distributed 1,700 litter bags and book bags in the school system. We also try to plant flowers around courthouse this time of year. I want to thank the boy scouts, cub scouts, beautification committee, sheriff's department, volunteers in the Belk community, Shiroki North America, Smithville Lions Club, DeKalb County Fair volunteers, and everyone else who participated. It's a good thing that we try to do twice a year. We'll still do our stream cleanups on Pine Creek, Dry Creek, and Smith Fork and we will work with the Corps when they do their lake cleanup in the fall," he said.
Should the county commission take a stand, either for or against, a proposal by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water plant?
Fifth district county commissioner Jerry Adcock raised the issue during Monday night's county commission meeting. But County Mayor Mike Foster was less than enthusiastic with the idea, telling Adcock that the county commission really has no control over the DUD board of directors.
The following is the exchange between Adcock and Foster.
Adcock: "I know that they (DUD board) have already made up their mind but I think the commission should either say we're for it or against it. The people should at least know where we stand"
Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them"
Adcock: "I don't like the idea that five people (DUD board) can make up their mind and apply for federal grants through us (county) and then don't do what we want"
Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them other than appointing them by the statute"
Adcock: "Can we appoint them who they want us to appoint?"
Foster:"There are some options under that. I don't particularly like the system. A few years ago, we only had one representative (from DeKalb County on DUD board) and had five thousand meters, and we got it (county's membership on DUD board) increased to three (by state legislation)"
Adcock: "This to me sounds like when DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, a few years ago wanted to go public. They (DUD) are cramming something down people's throats that they don't want. I feel like if these people (DUD board members) were elected by the people who have the (water) taps, they would answer more to the people"
Foster: "I agree with you in theory, but its moot"
Adcock: "Could we ask the state to approve that?"
Foster:"No, we can't because they are not going to do it. I think (County Attorney) Hilton (Conger) can tell you that the utility districts are very, very strong and they control what goes on in their districts. We have no say so over it"
Adcock: "Kind of like a dictatorship"?
Conger: "They just have a strong lobby in the state legislature"
Foster: "I somewhat agree with you, but its not going to happen"
Adcock: "I just don't like the idea of this plant getting shoved down everybody's throat. They've already got everything set up. They know where the land is (to build the plant)"
Foster: "This has been going on (in planning stages) for ten years. I know it started in 2002 when I first got here, it was going on. They (DUD) have had public meetings and they have done everything they are supposed to do."
Adcock: "They don't listen to the people. Alright, I just got my say in"
The county commission took no action on the matter.
The DeKalb Utility District serves parts of a four county area, DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson.
Members of the DUD board are Roger Turney, Chairman, from Auburntown; Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, and Hugh Washer all from DeKalb County, and Danny Bass from Smith County.
Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new Raw Water Intake, Raw Water Transmission Line, Water Treatment Plant and distribution system improvements. The proposed plant will be constructed near Holmes Creek Road and will have a capacity of three million gallons per day. The intake will be on Center Hill Lake, the Transmission Line along Holmes Creek Road and distribution lines will be along Allen's Chapel, Game Ridge, Turner, South Tittsworth, and Big Rock Roads, and Wheeler Lane.
The DUD will receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 to fund construction of the water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility will be funded through a bond issue.
The DUD board will meet in special session on Thursday, May 24 at 3:00 p.m. at the district offices located at 191 Tiger Drive, Smithville. The board expects to consider a resolution for the authorization and issuance of not to exceed $9-million 250-thousand dollars in aggregate principal amount of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds, and will consider any other matters that may properly come before the board.