To Be Held Prior
To Nov. Meeting
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Kinser Park Commission faced a variety of issues on Tuesday that left the commissioners in a time crunch and prompted a decision to approve a called meeting before the regularly scheduled Park Commission meeting in November.
The committee met at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday in the conference room of the County Courthouse Annex to review ongoing progress at the park.
Early in the meeting, Park Manager Rex Oster provided a financial report in which he told the commissioners that the park's electric bill is up by $13,000 over last year.
He gave examples of some problem areas that may be prompting this increase, including individuals' not turning lights and air conditioning units off when they are not in use.
Oster noted that he recently discovered that the electric meter to the "old bathhouse at Pavilion Number Two" was still running, at a cost of $20 per month.
Members estimated that the bathhouse has been abandoned and locked for seven or eight years.
In addition, Oster said that he spent a lot of the park's closed season last winter working on fixing and updating various areas, but noted that he had shut down the electricity from the breaker boxes in the park.
He did not, Oster said, have Greeneville Light & Power System shut the electricity down, as members said was generally the park's practice during the off-season.
Oster agreed to have GL&PS shut down the electricity for this coming winter, but noted that he does want some security lights to remain on.
Chairman Bob Schubel apologized that Oster had not been informed of this normal procedure last year.
In a unanimous vote, the commission asked that Oster contact GL&PS and resolve the issue for the coming year.
Oster noted that a portion of the problem was also that certain monthly bills, such as those for electricity, water and legal fees, were being automatically paid at Greeneville Town Hall without his review.
"In the off months in the campground alone, we had $238 per month," Oster said.
He noted that in the future he will be reviewing all such bills before they are paid.
Meanwhile, he said he will continue to work at pinpointing the source(s) of increased water usage. He noted that the park has paid $6,400 more for water this year than during the same period last year.
Oster said the he believes this to be a problem with the infrastructure at the park, saying that there must be leaks throughout.
The best solution, he suggested, may be to present the increasing water bills and the cost to replace the infrastructure to the Greene County Commission and the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
"They're not going to want to see it, with everything that's going on, but there are major issues," he said.
The Park Commission authorized Oster to find resolutions, or to research available options for the water problem to present to the committee.
The commission members then voted to approve holding a called meeting before their regularly-scheduled November meeting to deal with the water and electric issues in more depth.
Such a meeting will be held at Oster's request, the motion specified.
"These are the items, folks, that we were told for years and years were running fine," Schubel said.
Oster later requested that the commission also hold a second called meeting for another agenda item that the commission did not have time to address on Tuesday -- the possibility of increasing campsite fees.
Oster said that he is continuing to work on legal matters surrounding the auction of an abandoned camper to cover an outstanding account.
Schubel also reported that the lease between the park and the Marlins for the use of the baseball facilities is just coming under review by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The Marlins have been working for some time to renew the lease for use of the ball fields and a batting facility they built at the park.
TVA must approve the lease, since they own the property where Kinser Park is located and lease it to Greeneville and Greene County.
Greeneville Alderman Keith Paxton commented on the lighting of the Kinser Park ball field, noting that GL&PS recently approved extending the Operation Roundup program.
The program allows customers, on a voluntary basis, to allow the system to round-up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar in order to donate the additional funds to lighting local athletic fields.
Lighting needs at local public schools have been a first priority for the program, but Paxton noted the possibility of looking into receiving the old lights or of getting on the list to receive new lights.
He also noted that the Kinser Park Commission's Ball Field Lighting Committee, which had been studying the issue, will need to be reformed after the recent resignation of some commission members.
The layout of the campsites and the need to address the increasing sizes of new campers was placed on the back burner at the Tuesday meeting.
"That's going to be a manager issue because campers with slide-outs require a little more space than those that don't have them.
"Then we need to make doubly sure that we're in compliance with TVA on deck and roof overhead sizes and so forth, as they permitted us a couple years ago when they came through," Schubel said.
Oster, however, said that he would like to see the commission revisit the space allotments that TVA had allowed.
"At some point we're going to have to address [this] with TVA because their drawing was very simple, very plain," he said.
"It's for older campers and doesn't include a front slide. Most of your newer campers all have a front slide."
"I understand that," Schubel replied, "but if we have to do that, we're going to be in a mess with TVA. The simplest thing to do is to go by the drawings that we have, rough and crude as they may be."
"We have already been told ... if we have to go through that process again, we're opening Pandora's Box, and we'd best not."
"So there is no --" Oster began.
"No, there is not," Schubel interrupted. "It's a done issue. The only thing we can do with slide-outs is to give them spaces that just happen to be a little bigger."
The commission does not yet have a secretary appointed.
County Commissioner and Kinser Park Commission member Brenda Grogan served on the commission as secretary until her death earlier this year, after which County Mayor Alan Broyles appointed County Commissioner Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers to fill her post.
The commission still has one at-large seat open. Members agreed on Tuesday to "put out feelers" for any interested parties.
The commission's selection would have to be approved by both the Greene County Commission and the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen, according to former Park Commission member Fay Bird.
The open position will be a topic of discussion again in November, at which time the commission agreed to vote for a chairman and co-chairman.
Schubel noted that the commission no longer appoints a treasurer, but instead hears monthly financial reports from the park manager.
The park will close for the winter season on Monday, Nov. 4, Oster announced on Tuesday.
Seasonal applications for the upcoming 2013 season are available online or at the park office.
Interested campers may visit kinserpark.com for more information.