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Commissioners to vote again on Boones Creek ballfields

Robert Houk • Jul 21, 2019 at 3:58 PM

Washington County commissioners will take another swing tonight at authorizing $800,000 to prepare athletic fields at the soon-to-open Boones Creek pre-K-8 school.

Commissioners will consider a new resolution for Phase I of what is budgeted as a $3.4 million project after Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy vetoed a measure they passed last month for the work. The amended resolution authorizes grading, drainage and seeding at the new school for a track, as well as football, soccer, baseball and softball fields after meeting requirements of Tennessee’s purchasing law.

The mayor said the previous resolution authorizing the work was treated as a change order to the original construction contract for the Boones Creek school. County officials were told by the project manager that doing the work for the athletic fields while the contractors still had equipment at the site could save money on the project.

Grandy said purchasing officials discovered there was no provision in the contract with BurWil Construction that would allow for such a change order. He also said the $800,000 allocated for the project, which includes money for design and architect fees, exceeds the amount allowed by state law for projects to be approved without seeking bids.

He said the project has now been put out for bids.

The original resolution was approved by a 8-5 vote last month, with Commissioners Mike Ford, Steve Light, Kent Harris, Jerome Fitzgerald and Danny Edens questioning the cost of the work at the Boones Creek site.

Commissioners will also vote tonight on a resolution to establish a $10 an hour minimum wage for county government employees. The pay level would apply to all full- and part-time employees.

The new minimum wage policy was approved earlier this month by the county’s Employee Compensation and Benefits Committee. Setting a higher minimum wage became an issue at the commission’s last meeting when Harris noted to his colleagues there was a job opening in the county’s Solid Waste Department for a position paying $8.50 an hour.

Commissioners voted on June 24 to set aside $34,000 in the county’s new budget to create a $10 minimum wage. They also asked the employee benefits committee to establish a pay policy that would apply to all county employees.

Mitch Meredith, the county’s finance and administration director, told members of the employee benefits committee that figures show there are fewer than 25 part- or full-time employees now earning less than $10 a hour. He said nine of the employees making less than $10 an hour work at the Washington County Public Library, and their pay was already being raised to the new minimum in the 2019-20 budget. 

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