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Hawkins jail sewer upgrade comes in $57,000 under estimate

Jeff Bobo • Dec 12, 2019 at 12:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — One silver lining in the Hawkins County Commission’s otherwise frustrating jail sewer line filtration project is the construction bid which came in $57,000 under the estimated cost.

There was already $250,000 set aside in the budget for the project, which was estimated to cost $366,000 when the commission voted in July to move forward with the project.

It was already understood that the difference in the final cost for the sewer line filtration system would be drawn from budget reserves.

On Wednesday, the Budget Committee recommended approval of a $59,000 amendment to cover the cost of the low bid, which came in at $309,000.

In March 2017, materials suspected to be jail uniforms and commissary food packaging were blamed for causing a sewer system backup in Rogersville that flooded three businesses.

As a result of that incident, the state mandated that both the county and city make improvements to their sewer systems to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

It’s been a tough pill to swallow for the cash-strapped county commission, which hasn’t been enthusiastic about paying that much money because jail inmates are apparently putting trash and debris into the sewer system.

The full commission will consider final approval of the budget amendment when it meets Monday evening.

Budget Committee officer elections

In the first meeting of the Hawkins County Commission since Mayor Jim Lee’s new committee appointments were approved last month, Commissioner John Metz was unanimously re-elected chairman, although there was a close contest for vice chairman.

Previous Vice Chairman Charlie Thacker was nominated to continue that position by Commissioner Rick Brewer, and Keith Gibson was nominated by Valerie Goins.

Gibson was elected by a vote of 4-3 with Metz, Goins, Bob Edens and Gibson voting for Gibson, and Brewer, Raymond Jessee, and Thacker voting for Thacker.

Brewer and Thacker were each nominated for the committee chairman secretary position, and both declined to accept. Edens eventually agreed to accept the position.

Other budget amendments

The committee voted to recommend a $486 increase for the Recovery Court coordinator for an overall increase of $558 including Social Security and retirement, setting the new salary at $36,716.

Director of Accounts and Budgets Eric Buchanan explained that the increase was to credit the employee on the salary scale for previous work experience with the county Board of Education. Grant funding and reserves will be used to cover the additional expense.

The Budget Committee also approved a $1,642 increase for Chancery Court to purchase a new telephone system for conference calls.

Buchanan explained that Chancery Court has been having more conference calls involving multiple parties, and the existing system was inadequate to meet their needs.

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