Vote Is 15-To-5
Of Roof That Is
Now 30 Years Old
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Detention Center will get a new and improved roof following a vote Tuesday by the Greene County Commission.
The current roof is nearly 30 years old and is leaking to a point that it needs "immediate attention," Sheriff Steve Burns reported in January.
Mayor Alan Broyles agreed, noting during a meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee that the roof leaks are so significant as to have the potential to cause structural concerns.
In response, the commission considered a partial re-roofing during last month's meeting, but informally requested that Architect Dave Wright return this month with bids for the entire roof.
The original bid replaced only about one-third of the roof for $85,000. The removal of numerous pieces of equipment from the roof (such as HVAC systems) and the cost of getting cranes and other roofing equipment onsite made up a significant portion of this expense, Wright had reported.
In response, the commission asked that Wright re-bid the project for the cost of repairing the entire roof, in the hope that there would be cost savings in completing the project all at once.
On Tuesday, Wright reported that the whole roof replacement bid came in at $127,650, much lower than the $150,000 or more that he said the commission had anticipated.
He also reported an alternate bid price of an additional $960 for a thicker grade rubber membrane, something that he recommended due to the frequent foot traffic on the roof for equipment maintenance.
"Basically, I think this is the best deal that we can get," Wright said. "This is a very, very good price."
So good in fact, that he said he has contacted the contractor three times since the bid opening to make certain there is no confusion on the scope of the project.
The contractor, Strickland Waterproofing Company, of Charlotte, N.C., is in fact well aware of the project, has been on the roof to inspect the necessary work, and has even included a $5,000 contingency within their bid, Wright reported.
The second lowest bid was at least $25,000 more, he added.
Commissioner Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers asked about the company's reputation, which Wright said is in good standing.
The architect also responded to questions from Commissioner Robert Bird concerning the warranty, which Wright said is a standard, 20-year warranty.
Both Bird and Commissioner Robin Quillen, however, questioned where the commission could find the money to cover these costs.
The Capital Projects Fund, out of which such projects are normally paid, is significantly depleted, Budget Director Mary Shelton reported.
The fund receives about $3,700 a month in rent from the state for the Driver Service Center on Hal Henard Road, she said, but currently only has about $70,000.
With the additional $1,100 costs for advertising for bids and $7,717 for architects fees, the total project cost would come to about $137,500, Shelton added.
Mayor Broyles recommended taking this amount from the General Fund's fund balance (the budget out of which most departments operate) and reimbursing it over time as the Capital Projects Fund builds back up.
Commissioner Tim White objected to this, saying that it is not "good accounting practices."
Commissioner Anthony Sauceman was the only one to raise the concern that this re-roofing is coming at a time that the county is considering how to address overcrowding at the jail that has prompted its recent decertification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI).
This decertification can drastically increase the county's liability, since certification is based on the minimums needed to meet "human rights," according to the TCI.
Sauceman said that his only reassurance in this matter is that the building could be used for other purposes, should the county decide to build another jail.
Nonetheless, he and Commissioners Quillen, White, John Waddle and Jan Kiker all voted against the motion to replace the jail roof.
The motion carried, however, in a 15-5 vote.
Following the vote, Quillen also questioned when the county would hold another committee meeting related to addressing the jail's decertification, noting that such meetings can be in the county's favor when the center comes up for consideration to be recertified this year.
Committees have not met to address the matter since late November.
Broyles responded that he has requested this delay until such a time as he is able to bring a proposal for a method to fund any improvements or new construction to address the overcrowding.
Such a proposal should be in place within the next couple of weeks, he said.
"We've been on the roll with it," he noted.
In other business, the commission heard from several citizens during the public hearing at the start of the meeting, including Tom Ferguson, president and CEO of the Greene County Partnership (GCP).
Ferguson gave a brief overview of the GCP's annual report, thanking the commission for their financial support and sharing the past year's accomplishments.
He noted the recently announced $20 million expansion of Huf North America, a local industry that will be adding at least 100 jobs.
In addition he assured that the US Nitrogen project is well under way and estimated a ribbon-cutting there at this time next year.
There are also four other active projects to bring industry to Greene County, Ferguson said.
Beth Hembree, of the Library Board, also gave an annual report, in which she said the library had 22,000 patrons in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The commission also heard from Barbara Easterly, of the Greene County Farm Bureau Women, who announced "Food Checkout Week" as this week.
Mark Collins, of Babbs Mill Road, also addressed the commission to note an upcoming rezoning issue at property on Quillen Shell Road.
Finally, Broyles read a proclamation honoring the Greeneville High School Wrestling Team for their academic and athletic achievements.
Earlier this month, the team won the Class A/AA state wrestling duals title in Franklin.