THE HUNTER REPORT
$49,000 Down the Drain!
Commission rolls the dice...$1.5Million!
By: Pat Hunter
Are you concerned over Commission's recommendation to the school board? At the Jan. 4, 2010 meeting, Commission voted to send a recommendation to the school board authorizing spending $1.5 Million for construction documents and going out to bid on the $47 Million school building plan. The same Commission that has yet to publicly say to the school Board how much money they are wiling to fund on the proposed $47 Million school projects. Some view this as an expensive delay tactic by some on Commission until after the election when the fight and gridlock starts all over again about what school projects go first or will get done.
In Nov. 2009, Leroy Tate made a motion, which was unanimously approved by the school Board to request that school director Wayne Honeycutt get with the Mayor and Commission and to request a dollar figure so the school Board could proceed with the proposed school building program. But at the December and January Commission meetings, the majority of Commission voted against a motion, which was made by Commissioner Austin Shaver. Shaver requested that the Finance Director seek financial information (best available terms, rates, loans etc.) so Commission may develop numbers on what Commission can afford without a property tax rate. Shaver's motion was defeated in a 6-4 vote. Voting No: Commissioners Harold Duff (Budget Committee), David Meers (Budget Committee), Nancy Marcus, Wayne Gardin, Earlena Maples and Commission Chairman Roy Bledsoe. Voting Aye: Commissioners: Austin Shaver, Don Miller, Bob Franke and Chris Park.
Mr. Shell, Community Techtonics architect came before Commission in December. Mr. Shell worked with a construction manager; best cost estimates in the range of $45 - $47 Million for all four school projects in Phase 1 (Philadelphia Cafeteria/Kitchen, New Ft. Loudon Middle School, New Greenback School and co-join two schools as one school, Loudon Elementary and Ft. Loudon Middle School)
There is a desire by the school board to move forward with the building program. However, Commission has yet to make a decision and take a vote on what amount they are willing to fund. He suggested that Commission give a number so that the school board could proceed rather than go out to bid first without a firm number from Commission but his professional advise was ignored. Thumbs down – Funding School Building Program
There's already talk of a property tax increase after the elections and its easy to understand why with all the taxpayer waste.
$49,000 PBA Study
Why did Commissioners and School Board spend $49,000 hard earned taxpayer money on an independent PBA PEFA Study if they didn't plan to listen to the professionals and take the politics out of the school building program?
Shortly after being elected to office as Mayor, Doyle Arp led the charge for an independent study by professionals. The Mayor's pitch was to take the "politics" out of the school building program and Commissioners and School Board voted to go along. Austin Shaver was not a commissioner at that time; Shirley Reno was one of two Lenoir City commissioners. Commissioners unanimously voted to authorize the Mayor to enter into a contract with the Public Building Authority (PBA) Partnership for Education Facilities Assessment (PEFA) and the School Board paid their fair share.
The Commission Minutes went something like this, "Doyle Arp, Loudon County Mayor, requested consideration and possible action on the following items: 1. Consideration of authorizing facilities study for Loudon County Schools. A motion was made by Commissioner Gardin with a second by Commissioner Franke to authorize Mayor Arp to enter into contract, not to exceed $59,000, with Lenoir City Schools and Loudon County Schools paying ½ the costs, for a school facilities study. Upon roll call vote the following Commissioners voted Aye: Marcus, Meers, Reno, Maples, Franke, Bledsoe, Duff, Park, Gardin and Miller: (10). The following Commissioners voted Nay: (0). Thereupon the Chairman announced the motion Passed: (10-0)."
On Nov. 19, 2009, the Mayor was interviewed by WATE TV-6 on Nov. 19, 2009. ..."Three years ago, PBA performed a study for Loudon County Schools. County Mayor Doyle Arp says not only has the study been accurate, it's also saved the county plenty of money. On the front end, "Probably $100,000 to $150,000, that's a good savings for a small county, yes it is," Mayor Arp says. And on the back end. Mayor Arp says prior to PBA's study, Loudon County was told its school building program would cost in the range of $120 million. PBA's estimate was half that. "PBA came in with a study that was going to cost us about $47 million," Mayor Arp says. He also says the school board was initially skeptical, but now, "Even the school board is down to that number..."
The PBA Study called for a new school in Greenback but that is not what the Capital Projects and Budget Committee recommended. So much for paying the professionals to come up with a plan that was supposed to take the "politics" out of the school building program!
WATE TV-6 Should Knox Public Building Authority compete with private companies for business?
At the same commission meeting, Commission voted to levy a new tax on residential development, Adequate Facilities Tax (AFT) for the express purpose of building new schools and renovating schools. The School Board and Commissioners have so far ignored the expensive taxpayer funded PBA study, which made specific recommendations. And with these two resources, the school building program is still marred in politics.
$$ AFT UPDATE - AFT Revenues $1,521,379.70
PDF files - acrobat
PBA Loudon County - Lenoir City 2007
PEFA ASSESSMENT PRESENTATION - PowerPoint
ENROLLMENT PROJECTIONS AND FACILITY CAPACITY ANALYSIS
FOR LOUDON COUNTY/LENOIR CITY SCHOOLS
March 1, 2007
Loudon County School System - Suggested Capital Improvement Plan
Loudon County School System - Suggested Capital Improvement Plan Details
LOUDON COUNTY/LENOIR CITY SCHOOLS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Summary of Overall School Ratings
•Architectural, Structural, Site, Electrical, and Mechanical
Assessments Link Page
Lenoir City School System
Suggested Capital Improvement Plan
March 1, 2007
Lenoir City School Details - 3 schools