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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
jthompson@johnsoncitypress.com
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Budget group OKs request for new garbage truck, bins

October 11th, 2011 10:01 am by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — The Budget Committee of the Carter County Commission approved a request from the Landfill Committee to spend $85,000 from the county’s fund balance to purchase a new front-loading garbage truck and 32 new Dumpsters.

Landfill Committee Chairman Joel Street said the new truck would eliminate many trips to the landfill. The current truck must make four trips back and forth between the landfill and the Roan Mountain Convenience Center because it can only pick up a Dumpster and transport it for dumping.

The Budget Committee’s recommendation will be presented to the Carter County Commission for approval at Monday’s meeting.

As part of Budget Committee member Thomas “Yogi” Bowers’ recommendation to approve the $85,000 expenditure, he also delayed the second part of the Landfill Committee’s request. It was for an additional $75,000 from the fund balance to purchase compactors for the county’s two convenience stations and for site preparation for the Elk Mills convenience center.

Bowers said the convenience center at Elk Mills was really “an inconvenience center,” because it was not more centrally located. He said a parcel of county-owned land at the intersection of U.S. Highway 321 and Tenn. Highway 67 would be ideal because it would be close for people in Fish Springs as well as on the way to Mountain City or Elizabethton for people living in Elk Mills.

The committee was told it would take at least six months for the permitting process for a new convenience station, as well as getting it through the Carter County Planning Commission. Bowers said since it would take that long, he recommended postponing the expenditure of the $75,000 until the next fiscal year in order not to take “too big a bite out of the find balance.”

Mayor Leon Humphrey said the problem with the low return at Elk Mills was not because of location. He said the biggest problem was there was no compactor on site, which meant the loads coming from Elk Mills were more air than garbage.

Bowers’ motion was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Nancy Brown and Scott Sams voting against it.

The committee also unanimously approved a motion by Bowers to spend about $31,000 from the Carter County Health Department’s reserves to install a new floor for the 8,868 feet of flooring that has been damaged by moisture seeping up from the ground.

Health Department Director Caroline Hurt has conducted extensive research on the moisture problem and presented a solution to the committee that includes a porous tile system.

Hurt had some funds left over from her funds for the 2010-11 fiscal year and a $20,000 grant from the state. In her presentation Monday night, she had asked for the remaining $31,000 to come from county reserves, but Bowers suggested they should come from the Health Department reserves.

Finance Director Ingrid Deloach said there was money in the Health Department fund balance to cover the costs, but any emergency would have Hurt coming back to the county for funding.

Bowers’ motion was unanimously approved by the committee.

In other matters, the commission approved an extension of the county employee medical insurance coverage to take effect in January. Deloach said there would be no increase in the cost of the insurance and the benefits would remain the same.

“I never anticipated the rates wouldn’t go up,” Deloach told the committee.

The recommendation was to extend the insurance was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Brown voting against it.

The committee also approved an $11,027.80 reimbursement from the Environmental Protection Agency for methamphetamine laboratory cleanups that had been paid for with county money this year.

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