UC Council bombarded with requests
Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:56 pm
By: Donna Ryder, Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Sometimes a city must spend money on unexpected projects; they’re just not usually all at the same time.
Union City council members were bombarded with such requests Tuesday night — all of which are basically mandatory.
First, council members learned the city must relocate utility lines so the Tennessee Department of Transportation can construct Highway 45 West from Allie Campbell Road to U.S. Highway 51.
City manager Kathy Dil-lon said she was incorrect earlier when she thought the city might be able to receive reimbursements for the project from the state. There will not be any reimbursements and the line relocations must be paid 100 percent by the city.
She said it is outside the city limits, but the city does have lines outside the city limits.
“We have to take responsibility and move the utilities out of the way,” Ms. Dillon told the council. “We have to move our investments or they will pave over them.”
The city manager said the cost of the project will be in next fiscal year’s budget.
Immediately after learning of this expense, the council was asked to approve a contract with Wauford Engineering for the contract services of the Airport Road Utility Relocation Project. Though the item was on the agenda, the council learned the cost will be much more than the $27,000 stated on the agenda.
Ms. Dillon explained to the council she is requesting the city contract with Wauford without using the bidding process because Wauford has already been in on the project at the Everett-Stewart Regional Airport and time is of the essence.
Apparently, there was some kind of miscommunication with TDOT officials and Union City was not kept updated on the project. She also believes the project was expedited by the previous state administration.
Public Works director Steve Ladd said from as far as he can find in the city’s records, a former city official told TDOT that none of the city’s lines would be affected by the project. He said that is not the case. Now, the council has learned the city must have its utility lines moved by mid-March because ground will be broken in April for the airport project.
He said if the lines are not moved, they will be under the new road. Also several lines are located where the state plans to cut.
Ladd said the city will need easements or will have to locate the lines at the edge of the right-of-way.
The engineering fees are estimated at $49,200, with the entire project costing between $148,000 and $203,000. Ms. Dillon said the city has budgeted around $200,000 for its share of a grant to place a water tank at the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park. She said she hates to put off that project, but the utility line relocation takes priority.
The board approved the expenditure and voted to solicit bids for the utility relocation project.
The council also learned Tuesday night that now would be the best time to construct access lanes for Discovery Park of America.
Mayor Terry Hailey said the project on Everett Boulevard will cost about $496,000 and has to be completed before Discovery Park opens. It is a project which Union City is required to pay for, but the city could save about $150,000 if the work is done now.
Hailey said if the city gets the dirt work done now, the state has agreed to pave it when it is paving Reelfoot Avenue. The state has already solicited bids for that project.
He said there would not be a rush if it were not for the state doing this project now and agreeing to pay to pave the access roads. Paving will take place this summer.
The council did not vote on the matter Tuesday night. The city will soon be meeting with TDOT and Discovery Park officials about the project.
Ms. Dillon said there is plenty going on in Union City with these projects and I-69. “It’s tapping us now.”
Hailey added they’re all projects which have to be done, but nobody notices. “Still they have to be done.”
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Appointed Hal Mosier to the Personnel Advisory Board and Melba Mackins to the Health, Education and Housing Facility Corporation Board. Ms. Mackins resigned from the City Beautiful Commission, so the council will have to fill that seat. There is also an open position on the city’s Industrial Development Board.
• Agreed to accept the state bid of $15,406 from Golden Circle Ford in Jackson for the purchase of vehicles for the water, public works and parks and recreations departments. Jenkins Motors bid $17,943, Union City Ford $17,750.35 and Terry Petty $17,280.
• Authorized the issuance of interest bearing capital outlay notes not to exceed $176,389 for the purchase of a street sweeper. The rate, from Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund, is 3.81 percent.
• Voted to raise the speed limit on Everett Boulevard from Reelfoot Avenue to Clover Street to 50 mph. The council had asked permission from TDOT to raise the speed limit to 55 mph, but TDOT would only approve 50 mph. Ms. Dillon said TDOT actually didn’t want a speed limit increase, but 50 mph was a compromise.
• Voted to have a survey done at the wastewater plant for the purpose of getting a legal description of land which could possibly be farmed. There are about 30 acres which the city currently maintains by mowing and which a local producer has requested to farm. The city will also solicit bids from farmers for leasing the land.
• Scheduled a called meeting for 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 to consider awarding the bids on the walking track and Airport Road.
• Heard an explanation from Fire Chief Kelly Edmison as to why the department fought a fire Saturday night the way it did. He said there were many people watching as the house burned and several expressed an opinion on how the fire should have been fought.
He said residents could see one house fully engulfed, but what these people did not realize is that, in addition to the unoccupied home located at 318 North Morgan St., the occupied house next door and the shed behind it were also on fire. Edmison said what they appeared to see were trucks spraying water between the two houses and not on the one which was fully engulfed.
He said once the department got the fire under control at 314 North Morgan and received backup from Rives and Martin, it was able to fight the fire at 318 North Morgan. The unoccupied home had been vacant since August 2010, when there was a kitchen fire there during fair week.
Edmison said the door of the shed had been kicked in and a fire set. It progressed from there to the garage and into the house. “We had to protect the house someone was living in,” he said. He added that at the same time as the house fires, a car was set on fire not far away.
He said in 2010 there were six possible suspicious fires in the city, but when there is a vacant house it could be anyone from a 6-year-old to an adult who could walk by and throw something in. Unless there is a witness, it’s hard to determine the cause, he said.
The Union City Police Department was called in by the fire department for the three fires. Garner told the council they are being considered arson fires and the state fire marshal’s office is investigating.
He said there is a problem with vacant houses being targets and several have been broken into. At least one arrest has been made in a vacant rental house break-in. He added the former Central Elementary School has been vandalized again.
• Learned from Garner the police department is picking up stray dogs.
• Was asked to consider placing “No Parking” signs on South Home Street.
• Asked about the tree grant and who will be planting them. Ms. Dillon said they have been bid out.
• Received a framed certificate from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. It was presented to the water plant, which was recognized as a patriotic employer for contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve forces.
Published in The Messenger 2.2.11