Jellico Utility makes revisions to policy

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By Natasha LaFayette



Revisions to the use of vehicles and equipment documents garnered discussion by the Jellico Electric and Water System Board of Directors Tuesday night.

The policy currently states that on-call personnel and supervisors are allowed to take vehicles home in the evening.

Utility Manager Mike Bethurem said through conversations with other utilities he has learned that only one other system allows on-call employees to take home vehicle.

Bethurem suggested to the board it strike from the policy on-call personnel, making only supervisors eligible to use vehicles after hours.

Three people are on call at any given moment.

“We have some people that would abuse this,” said board member Jo Anne Watts about the advantage of narrowing down the list of those using the vehicles.

The board unanimously approved the change.

Next on the evening’s agenda was a request by John Boll with the Common Soil Garden in Jellico. Boll along with several other families undertook the challenge of planting a community garden, which donates some produce to the area elderly.

Boll advocated to the utility board for an alternative to normal water rate charges. The group of gardeners found water rates to be extremely high last season and sought an alternative for the use of community gardens.

The board was very hesitant to agree to any charges in the rate and billing structure. However, the board was agreeable to taking the sewer charge off of the bill since the water is going into the ground and not the sewer system.

In addition to taking the sewer charge off their bill, the utility was also asked for the use of the city well to haul water to the garden.

Board member Eddie Barton said in the event of another dry season, gardening would be a restricted use of water.

Watts was in favor of the community garden but felt agreeing to charge rates could be a future liability issue. Board Attorney Terry Basista agreed with Watts, saying it could be easy for a group of families to take advantage of program if rates were changed.

The board said they would agree to take sewer off the meter used for the garden, but use of the city well would have to be discussed with the Jellico Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

In other business, the utility board passed a resolution to approve the Tennessee Municipal League Interlocal Cooperation Agreement. Bethurem said the agreement is a formality, documenting a variety of policies between the utility and agency.

“Cooperating with TML is probably something we want to do,” said.

The board approved the resolution given approval by Basista.

Bethurem also made the board aware that no responses were received from the bid to remove the underground storage tank. Bethurem said the utility will re-advertise the project and stipulate bids be received by the middle of May.