THE HUNTER REPORT

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IS MILITARY SURPLUS GIVEAWAY REALLY FREE?

PICTURE TAKEN AT 911 FACILITY

BY: PAT HUNTER

Just in case you didn't know this, Loudon County has its very own Fort Smith. The sign was posted on the E-911 fence.

Loudon County recently acquired a lot of 'Free' military surplus vehicles and large boat. Just how much does it cost to get 'Free' government surplus stuff? Loudon County taxpayers are about to learn that answer as property owners receive tax bills in Saturday's mail.

At Monday’s October 7th 6:00 p.m. Loudon County Commission meeting, Commission will consider allocating $23,000 to amend the budget of Director Daryl Smith, Home Land Security - Emergency Management (HLS -EM).  

A $34,400 request to amend the $156,472 HLS budget was first made at the Sept. 16th Loudon County Budget Committee meeting. In attendance were Budget Chair Mayor Estelle Herron, budget committee members Commissioners David Meers, Bob Franke, new budget committee member (Commission Chairman) Roy Bledsoe, Ex-officio Secretary Tracy Blair; absent Commissioner Don Miller.

The primary reason for Director Smith’s visit was to request more funding. According to Director Smith, within the last 90-days (starting June and July 2013), HLS-EM was successful in obtaining assets from the Department of Defense and Law Enforcement Defense Logistics Agency. http://www.tennessee.gov/generalserv/ba04s/leso.html

The transfer of custody of those pieces of equipment included a boat and HEMTT 8- wheel truck which was on display in the parking lot of the Loudon County Office Building.

The fleet consists of 7 Humvees (one air conditioned unit ), 1-10 ton truck, 5-5-ton trucks, trailer mounted 25kW generator and 60 K BTU HVAC. The Sheriff’s Dept. is interested in using the Humvees. CLICK Surplus Equipment & Other

He also described the 2004 model, twin 225 Horse Power engine, 32-foot all aluminum unsinkable boat with working radar, and GPS. Home Land Security and Dive Team wish to partner. There was a verbal understanding with the Chiefs to refuel the boat if used. He said that he has not asked for any monetary support from any of the other cities and agencies. The EMS Chiefs (most on the 911 Board) signed a letter of support. Smith said the he traveled 10,000 miles to pick up the equipment; and 30-hours travel time.

This year’s HLS-EMA budget allotment for gasoline was $8,000; and the request was for an additional $2,000. Diesel fuel allotment was $2,500 which was said to be at one hundred percent (100%) spent with months remaining in the fiscal year. The request was for an additional $4,000 diesel fuel. 

A request for additional CLICK $17,000 for boat repairs (materials, parts, etc.). The breakdown included $6,000 engine long block, engine oil injector $1,000, (See Full List) to put the boat (U.S. Marine Corp) into operation. Volunteers would assist with boat repairs. The boat’s original cost was $150,000. An engine would likely be needed in the next few years but he gave no cost estimates.

Director Smith explained how Homeland Security does not have a boat capable of getting out on the waterway when called out for water pollution complaints. TWRA currently investigates those types of complaints. Other possible uses: emergencies and disasters, dive rescue, drowning, fire, and events such as Lenoir City’s Rock-n-Docks, and Loudon City Riverfest.

Smith named other agencies with boats: Loudon County Fire & Rescue, Greenback Fire, Tellico Village, and Loudon City. Commissioner Bob Franke added that the Sheriff Dept. has a boat too. According to Smith, a Runabout donated by Sea Ray Boats.

Director Smith commented that the fleet did not exist during the budget process. When he prepared the budget the equipment was not in his custody and had not been approved for any of those items.

Commissioner Bob Franke asked when the Humvees were acquired; Smith replied June, July, and August 2013 (within last 90-days). Loudon County Commission approved the Budget on July 15, 2013.

Smith was asked about storage; two possible options include using the E-911 bay (FORT SMITH) where the boat is currently stored or perhaps storage at Ft. Loudoun slip - (Dive Rescue). The military surplus equipment would become county equipment after one-year of use and could even be sold including for scrap but if the Humvees were no longer needed, the Humvees must be returned back to the military (Ft. Campbell).

 

HLS EM Director Daryl Smith (far left, Mayor Herron, Bob Franke, David Meers (light blue shirt), Roy Bledsoe (green shirt), Tracy Blair sitting next to Smith

Commissioner David Meers said that he supported $17,000 for the boat. Smith requested $2,000 (gas), and $4,000 (diesel) fuel. Commissioner David Meers motioned to allocate $23,000 but after receiving no second from commissioners, Budget Chair Mayor Estelle Herron stepped in to second the budget amendment, which was unanimously approved. Voting Aye: Estelle Herron, David Meers, Bob Franke, and Roy Bledsoe. The Budget Committee’s recommendation now goes to the full Loudon County Commission for consideration and vote set for Monday October 7th, 6:00 p.m. Annex.

Click to see related public records -

Handout distributed at Sept. 19, 2013 Loudon County Budget Committee - pdf:

Commission Agenda 10-7-2013

HLS Budget Amendment 10-7-2013 Commission Page 42

HLS Breakdown of Proposed Expenses  (2 pages)

Letter of Support from Chiefs

 

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10-5-2013