Most Of Withdrawal
Would Go To Produce
Asphalt For Roads
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
A large infusion of cash from the Greene County Highway Department's savings received a recommendation of approval from the County Budget & Finance Committee on Wednesday.
County Road Superintendent David Weems requested to move nearly $1 million from the department's savings, the vast majority of which would benefit asphalt plant operations.
"The biggest part of that we're moving out of the unassigned fund balance into asphalt plant operations to produce more asphalt in the spring," he said.
Commissioners questioned how the shift of the $974,000 would affect the department's savings.
"It's still all right," Weems said.
"He currently has $2.8 million [in reserves]," Budget Director Mary Shelton clarified.
Commissioner Robert Bird and others then took the opportunity to praise Weems for his recent work with the asphalt plant.
"I think he's done a good job of distributing his asphalt across the county to benefit most people and not concentrated in one particular district," Bird said. "I think that's a good policy, and I want to compliment you on that."
A smaller portion of the funds Weems requested from savings -- $25,000 -- is for salt, and $3,500 is for maintenance and repair of a fuel tank monitoring system, Weems said.
He further noted that he has already purchased the 400 tons of salt the county requested under a bid from Cargill, Inc., of Ohio, that was $72.74 per ton. That company no longer has salt available for the county, he added.
This means that the county must now purchase salt for $5-6 more per ton, Weems said.
The committee unanimously approved the request for recommendation to the Greene County Commission.
In other business, the committee approved recommending paying up to $15,500 for the replacement of nine computers in the Clerk & Master's Office and the Probate Office.
Clerk & Master Kay Solomon Armstrong told the committee that her office had in years past contracted with Bridge Computer Systems, of Piney Flats.
Saratoga Software, an international company, purchased Bridge Computer Systems more than a year ago, prompting both Armstrong and Circuit Court Clerk Pam Venerable to enter into a contract with Saratoga Software this year.
However, the company accepted Armstrong's payment but not her revisions to the contract that would require them to make software changes as needed for her office to meet state standards on her reports.
This, in addition to her aging computers and use of Windows XP software that Microsoft will soon no longer support, prompted the committee to approve Armstrong's request for nine new computers from Local Government Data Processing.
The company has a backlog that will delay the installation of their software for 12 months, but the $23,000 worth of software and training will come at no cost to the county because of Armstong's state-level involvement in the software development, according to company representative Michael Smith.
In the meantime, the office will benefit from the hardware upgrades and can show a good-faith effort toward compliance with state requirements until the software is installed, he added.
Similar upgrades will also need to take place in the Circuit Court Clerk's office, Smith said.
The committee agreed to recommend that the County Commission approve payment for the nine computer replacements.
Other items receiving the committee's recommendation included:
* budgeting a $60,000 tobacco settlement project grant from the Tennessee Department of Health for smoking prevention programs to the Greene County Health Department;
* budgeting an additional $15,000 to the health grant from the Tennessee Department of Health to the Greene County Health Department to provide funds to increase salaries for certain employees;
* budgeting $3,087 in carryover funds from a restricted donation to the Health Department; and,
* budgeting $2,200 from the Capital Projects Fund to the Election Commission Office for the emergency purchase of a gas furnace.