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HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT'S

EDDIE SIMPSON (CAP) L.

CAPITAL PROJECTS NEEDS DISCUSSED

BY: PAT HUNTER

The Loudon County Capital Projects Committee met at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 17th for a two hour meeting. The main topic of discussion was to hear about capital project requests from elected officials and non-elected department heads after a letter was sent requesting information. Several departments responded including County Mayor (Estelle Herron) $300,000 for county office renovation, Road Superintendent (Eddie Simpson) for new equipment, and Sheriff (Tim Guider), a Firing Range, Obstacle Course, a new jail expansion and/or new jail. 

The committee is comprised of Commissioners Brian Jenkins, Harold Duff, Purchasing/Maintenance Director Leo Bradshaw; absent were commissioners Roy Bledsoe and David Meers. Meers was elected as Chairman, and Leo Bradshaw as Vice-Chairman and in Meers absence, Bradshaw presided over the meeting.

What did you expect when you sent the invitation asked Commissioner Duff. He was referring to letters that were sent to elected and department heads seeking input on future capital projects requests. Based on some responses, which he summarized of capital requests, Bradshaw estimated next year's cost at $1.8 Million for the various departments including the road superintendent, building/maintenance, county mayor, convenience centers, county clerk, emergency management agency, IT Dept., and animal shelter; and $1.3 Million for the following year. Leo Bradshaw suggested first establishing a capital projects policy. Just for the sake of discussion, he spoke about Roane County's Capital Projects Policy and that he would obtain policies from CTAS of other counties, which he would share at the next meeting. 

Commissioner Duff suggested using CTAS's model policy since Ron Woody worked as a CTAS consultant, and just filling in the blanks with Loudon County. Ron Woody is ultra conservative on his policies so we may not want to be as restrictive suggested Bradshaw. I would hope that we wouldn't  need one this thick replied Duff. The policy could be tweaked and ultimately recommended for approval by the Budget Committee, and Commission.

Bradshaw spoke about the Road Superintendent's 5-year capital plan, and Eddie Simpson was present to address his department's needs and requests. There were some comments about Roane County's Highway Dept. standing on its own followed up by a question by Road Superintendent Simpson wanted as to why. Duff replied that Roane County wouldn't fall under the capital projects, and Bradshaw reminded Simpson that Loudon County had already established a separate fund #176 ( one and three quarter cents) for highway capital needs. Anything additional would require a request to the Budget Committee and Commission. Simpson said that he asked for more tax pennies but it was not possible to obtain.

Eddie Simpson also spoke about Roane and Loudon County having about the same number of miles (seven hundred and something) of roads but the difference is that Loudon County had twice as many registered vehicles as Roane County, with twice the traffic, and wear and tear on the roads. The road will last about 20-years while stressing that the County needed to start paving about 10-15 miles per year at an estimated cost of $600,000 - $800,000 per year. Simpson wants about $600,000 for future paving. He gets gas money from the state, which he estimated at $500,000 mostly for operations and fuel, and employee wages and salaries. There's no "Slack" money in the budget.

There were bad storms in May and his expenditures were up and since Simpson had filled out paperwork with FEMA, and he would be reimbursed about $230,000 - $240,000 for repairs. He spoke about three major culverts that collapsed during inclement weather including one at Town Creek Rd. at a cost of $30,000, and another one on Watkins Rd., at Tellico Lake back back into a cove at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000.

There was a discussion about former Road Superintendent Don Palmer and his expenditures and equipment and borrowing. No one seemed to remember how much money he had been borrowed under Palmer's administration but Simpson said that the last installment payment for the East Tellico Parkway paving would be this year.

Simpson also spoke about the highway department's current equipment and future needs. Simpson bought three mowers this year out of capital projects. He was asked how many mowers he has at this time, there are nine mowers and the cost is about $50,000, and with boom arms are about $80,000. Simpson wants to replace a mower each year. He would like to get two side mowers and one boom mower with tractor, next year. He wants to have six boom mowers, and six mowers (tractor and mowers). It takes three days to change out the side mower with a boom mower. Bradshaw asked if he kept mileage charts and Simpson replied yes, as well as, maintenance records. Simpson has two full time mechanics. Simpson submitted his 5-year Capital Projects request to the committee, and he invited them to visit the operations of the highway department.   

 

NOTE: THE HUNTER REPORT researched the number of vehicle registrations to see if Loudon County vehicle registrations were twice the amount of Roane County's, and the CTAS Tax stats for 2010 showed a difference of an estimated 4,658. 

CLICK Motor Vehicle Registrations 2010

SOURCE: CTAS Page 18 TABLE 17

Loudon 57,565

Roane 52,907

Monroe 41,915

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10-20-2011