-Y KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Road & Highway Committee expressed some confusion during Monday's meeting concerning recent payment made by the county for the new heating systems in the Highway and Solid Waste departments' shared building on Hal Henard Road.
The County Commission approved the $26,510 low bid on the project from Parton's Electric-Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC during a called meeting in November.
Soon thereafter, co-owner Lyle Parton installed enerRadiant heaters that met the British Thermal Units (BTUs) that the county's architect, Dave Wright, had specified.
However, Highway Department employees and Road Superintendent David Weems complained that the heaters were not sufficiently heating the space.
The heaters are mounted in the ceiling and produce high levels of radiant heat in order to produce enough warmth for the large, open workspace.
Tests by Wright and project engineer Steven Farris, of SEDA, Inc., reportedly found that the heaters were only heating properly for the first 10 feet out of 40 feet.
After that first 10 feet, the amount of heat declined beyond what was sufficient to heat the area, Wright reported following the tests.
Numerous meetings, discussions and minor alterations to the heaters followed, with no significant improvements, until Wright installed a Reznor heater that outperformed those installed by Parton.
As a result, Parton removed the other heaters and replaced them with Reznors.
However, during September's meeting of the Greene County Commission, questions were raised about the county's full payment in light of the delay, as well as the county's having paid Wright for the Reznor he purchased.
County Mayor Alan Broyles explained that Parton had removed Wright's Reznor and replaced it with one he ordered.
The county then paid Wright and Parton and kept the extra heater in case it was needed in another area, Broyles said.
Broyles assured commissioners that the amount of Wright's payment had to have been within the range that was originally contracted, but he promised to review the matter.
On Monday, the Road & Highway Committee agreed that Wright should have been paid for the Reznor, but the committee noted that they recalled that the commissioners' desire on the matter had been for the amount paid Wright to have been removed from Parton's payment.
The commissioners expressed confusion as to why Wright's new, working Reznor would have been removed and replaced with another identical heater.
"I thought we intended to take it away from the contract price -- but it was not," Commissioner Robin Quillen said, noting that the price of the extra heater was taken from the county's Capital Projects Fund.
The committee did not take any action on the matter.
MORGAN BRANCH LANE
In other business, the committee re-elected County Commissioner M.C. Rollins as chairman and County Commissioner Nathan Holt as vice chairman.
The committee also reviewed a request from residents of Morgan Branch Lane to add the full length of the road to the county's road list for maintenance.
Residents noted that the county maintains the road up until the point where the asphalt ends at .27 of a mile.
This portion of the road is on the county road list, but a graveled remainder, approximately .75 of a mile, wraps through the neighborhood.
Joseph Kovalick explained that he and his wife, Betty, purchased property on this second portion of the lane in the 1970s.
At that time, Kovalick said, he was told by the prior owner that the road had been deeded to the county several years earlier.
The county graded and graveled the road during the first five or six years they lived there, he said, but stopped maintenance shortly before the county road list was formed in 1985.
At that time, only the first, paved portion of the road made it onto the list.
Since then, he explained, the flood of 2001 badly damaged the road, and it has continued to deteriorate.
Last year, the late-April tornadoes caused even more damage, and it is extremely difficult for emergency personnel to access the eight homes that have driveways off the deteriorating portion, he said.
FOREST SERVICE AID?
Commissioner Rennie Hopson reminded the committee that the county and the Highway Department have rules requiring a road to meet certain standards and be deeded to the county before it can be added to the road list.
Although the small neighborhood has worked together to raise the funds for road tiles, they cannot afford to bring the road up to county standard, Kovalick said.
While Hopson said he sympathized with their situation, he defended the need for the committee to stick to the rules that are in place, noting other roads in the county are in similar condition.
He also pointed out that the road is likely in the Sampson Wilderness Area and could have special stipulations as a result.
Commissioners Hilton Seay and Quillen, however, said that no one should have to live on nearly impassable roads.
Seay questioned if the road could have been "inadvertently left off the road list."
Kovalick said that officials with the U.S. Forest Service, which owns property bordering their own, has indicated they would be willing to aid with the expense of improving the road.
The committee agreed to check with the Forest Service and investigate the issue prior to their Oct. 22 meeting.