Board Also OKs
For Next Phase Of
BY LAUREN HENRY
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday to authorize the College Street storm drain replacement project, in which the Town will contract with the Greene County Highway Department.
The County Commission on Monday authorized County Road Superintendent David Weems to assist the Town of Greeneville in the upcoming work, using the highway department's equipment and employees.
Greeneville Town Engineer Brad Peters has explained that the Town does not have either the equipment or the expertise needed for this project.
The 48-inch storm drain is located in the area where the Walters State Community College expansion is planned, and Peters has said that in some places the drain is buried nine feet deep.
"We are trying to take care of a situation that we have had for quite some time," said Mayor W.T. Daniels.
Peters had told the County Commission on Monday that the main storm sewer line on College Street has rusted out.
He clarified in Tuesday's meeting with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that the known problem area of the storm drain is the section discovered during digging around the Walters State campus.
"I don't know what condition the rest of it is in because we haven't exposed anything else," Peters said.
The Town of Greeneville will use revenue from the state fuel tax to fund the project, an arrangement which allows the Town to enter into an agreement with the County Highway Department.
Peters said that, by working with the county, he will be able to use Town of Greeneville employees to do much of the labor, but if the Town used an outside contractor, city employees would not be able to assist in the labor.
Alderman Keith Paxton said he received calls from citizens questioning why the Town did not complete a bidding process for the project.
Peters explained that internally absorbing much of the labor cost makes this option the most cost-effective. The county will charge FEMA rates, which is only equipment and labor costs.
Peters presented the board with an estimated budget of $259,836.92. He said this is a "worst case scenario" dollar figure.
"Everything on this sheet has been bidded out except for the labor," said City Administrator Todd Smith.
The budget sheet outlines the cost of the 48" pipe, drainage structures, frames and covers, and other purchases.
Despite Paxton's continued admonition that the project should have been bid out to private contractors as a cost comparison, the motion passed unanimously.
"Contractors are in business to make money. We understand that," Peters said. "Simple fact is, doing it this way allows us to use our labor."
The board approved an engineering fee proposal from CDM Smith, which won the bid for the construction of Phase III of the Fairgrounds Connector roadway improvement project.
Peters said they received bids from six firms but chose to go with CDM Smith.
The project will receive funds from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). TDOT has informed the Town that the money has an expiration date.
"We were informed by TDOT [that] we need to have the funds obligated, meaning we have to be ready to start, by September of next year," Peters said.
The project is an extension of the existing Fairgrounds Connector road to the east.
According to CDM Smith's proposal, the road will end at a new intersection with Rufe Taylor Road.
The projected cost is $283,500, which Peters said is lower than CDM Smith's original proposal.
After reviewing the original, he requested that CDM Smith revise some of the proposed costs. The figure presented to and accepted by the board is the revised cost.
HOT MIX ASPHALT
A lengthy discussion between Alderman Paxton and the rest of the board and Peters resulted in a 4-to-1 vote to pass a resolution asking the Tennessee General Assembly to amend state law in a way that would allow the Town to purchase hot-mix asphalt from Greene County's hot-mix asphalt plant.
The resolution requests that the General Assembly amend T.C.A 12-8-101 (i) to allow or permit a local government that owns and operates a hot-mix asphalt plant or facility to sell hot-mix asphalt to municipalities within the county where the plant or facility is located.
Paxton, who voted against the resolution, contended that the Town has an obligation to support economic development by going through the private sector for these purchases.
"Economic development says don't change this for jobs -- to save jobs," Paxton said.
"We are making it available to us to get a bid from David [from the county asphalt plant]," Alderman Sarah Webster said. "That [amendment would give] us the option to use [the county plant]."
"City residents pay county taxes," Peters said. "They are helping fund the asphalt plant but get no benefit from them. That's just the way the law is written.
"It seems to me that if city residents pay taxes for this enterprise, they should be able to benefit from it."
Second and final reading of an ordinance to amend Title 4, Chapter 8 of the Town of Greeneville Municipal Code, Stormwater and Soil Erosion Control, passed with Paxton voting against the ordinance.
Paxton said he had an issue with dropping language referring to the Regional Planning Commission and including residential properties in land disturbance permits, Section 4-805.
"If you're a resident and you grade your yard and get mud in the streets, the ordinance says you can be fined $5,000," Paxton said.
Peters qualified that the ordinance says "up to $5,000."
Any project of less than one acre that requires a building permit is included in the ordinance.
"The purpose of this ordinance is to ensure water quality. Are you saying that erosion runoff is different from a commercial property than a residential property?" Peters asked Paxton.
"We are talking water quality so there is no difference in runoff between residential and commercial. It is all the same," said Daniels.
Daniels ended the discussion, which he said was "getting redundant." The final vote passed 4-to-1, with Paxton voting no.
LED STREET LIGHTS?
The board discussed the possibility of entering an energy audit agreement with Ameresco. Ameresco had presented to the board in November some approximate energy savings.
Peters said part of those projected savings originally involved using lower wattage for street lighting, which he said would mean a lower lighting level; it has since been amended to replace incandescent town lighting with LED street lights, which are more energy-efficient.
Peters said the Greeneville Light & Power System recommended the town convert to LED-type street lights.
However, it might require an initial capital investment, and Peters recommended that the board wait to see how much money is available.
Alderman Darrell Bryan requested that the board wait until after the town audit is finished, which Recorder Carol Susong estimates to be by the end of January.
The board considered several options for the lighting improvements and energy savings, but no action was taken.
Two final agenda items did require a vote.
The property at the corner of South Main Street and West Main Street known as the "Kiser Hole Property" was declared surplus, and the board voted to allow the acceptance of proposals for sale of the property.
Smith suggested the board quitclaim the property to say the Town will not warranty the property.
The Board approved the expense for tire recapping for a loader at the transfer station, a job which will cost about $7,460.
The Board observed a moment of silence at the start of the meeting in honor of the victims of the recent school-shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn.