BY SARAH GREGORY
The Greeneville Water Commission voted Tuesday to split with the Greene County Highway Department the cost of repairs to Kiser Boulevard following a January road break and waterline break.
The commission also approved purchase of two new trucks for the Water Department's maintenance shop.
Commissioners also approved bids for repairs to cranes at the water and wastewater treatment plants and rejected a bid for a paint project at a pump station.
An update was also given concerning the potential for future upgrades to manholes that overflow in periods of heavy rain.
KISER BLVD. REPAIR COST
The commission voted to split the $16,969 cost of repairs to Kiser Boulevard with the Highway Department.
Heavy rains in January resulted in a break to a six-inch water line and a landslide that caused a portion of Kiser Boulevard to crumble.
At that time -- and in the weeks since -- Water Superintendent Laura White and Greene County Road Superintendent David Weems could not determine whether the road break caused the water line break, or if the water line break caused the landslide and road breakage.
Weems visited the Water Commission meeting Tuesday, and said that, after examining the area, neither he nor White could "really make a determination of which came first."
As a result, the two determined they would recommend splitting the cost of the road's repair between the Water Department and the Highway Department.
Weems also said his crews were able to use some rock that was available at the water filtration plant in the repair. Being able to use that rock, he estimated, saved the project approximately $40,000.
Commissioners Johnny Honeycutt and Joe Waggoner and Chairman Brandon Hull voted unanimously to split the cost with the Highway Department.
The commission approved purchase of two trucks for the Water Department's maintenance shop.
The low bid from Gateway Ford was $25,821 for the one-ton four-wheel-drive trucks.
Two existing trucks -- each with more than 150,000 miles and engine or electrical issues -- will be replaced.
One truck will be purchased with funds from the current budget year. The second truck will be purchased from funds that were to be allotted in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
Water Department Engineer Eric Frye recommended that the second truck be purchased now.
"I thought it was a good price," he said. "That's why I thought I'd recommend to get them both."
Honeycutt and Hull voted to approve the purchase.
Waggoner voted "no," saying he didn't want to spend the money at the present time.
Frye noted that repair costs for the aging trucks were adding up, saying, "We can keep fixing these, but they can nickel-and-dime you to death."
The board approved a measure that will allow crane repairs at the water and wastewater treatment plants to be pursued.
White noted that a recent inspection of the cranes "found some deficiencies" that could present "safety hazards."
Recommended repairs for each were just over $4,000 apiece.
"I would recommend we do go ahead and do these repairs," White said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the bid to allow repairs.
White and Frye gave commissioners a brief update concerning possible future action toward rehabilitation of some sewer facilities.
"The rain in January killed us," White said, referring to heavy rains that caused many sewer overflows.
White said that she received a letter from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) that served, essentially, as a warning.
"It's something that we're going to have to address," White said.
Frye told commissioners that the problem occurs primarily with brick manholes.
He said that the manholes are structurally sound, but leak because groundwater and rain flow into them, overwhelming the pipes.
He said a possible solution is being explored.
It would basically involve adding a rubber liner, a layer of foam insulation, and another layer of rubber.
No action was required or taken, as csommissioners were hearing a report on the issue.
PAINTING BID REJECTED
Commissioners rejected a bid for a painting project at the Water Department's pump station.
Frye said that only one bid for the project was received. The $97,000 bid was significantly higher than the approximately $30,000 in an earlier estimate at the last commission meeting in January.
Frye recommended that the bid be rejected. Commissioners voted unanimously to reject the bid.
Commissioners delayed taking action on adding a worker's compensation incentive in the employee manual and on purchase of a copying machine for the Water Department office.
White suggested adding a $50 incentive per employee every three months for not having any worker's compensation claims.
The incentive, she said, would be aimed at reducing more frivolous claims that drive up the department's worker's compensation insurance premiums.
White noted that the Town of Greeneville has such a program and that Recorder Carol Susong confirmed that it has resulted in savings in the form of lower premiums over the 10-year period in which it has been used.
Discussion centered on cost of the program versus potential cost-savings.
Commissioners decided to get input from their insurance provider before taking action.
Commissioners also delayed action on purchase of a copying machine for the Water Department office.
White was asked to explore additional options -- including the possibility of finding a local supplier -- as opposed to the $3,500 refurbished model that was presented.
At the meeting's start, White and commissioners recognized recent retirees Rocky Johnson and Gary Bowers.
Johnson was presented with a plaque recognizing 35 years of service with the Water Department.
He expressed thanks, saying that in his time with the Water Department, he'd never been laid off or had less than a 40-hour work week. "It's been a good experience," he said.
Bowers, who retired after 27 years with the wastewater treatment plant, was not in attendance.