Jellico waits on repairs and discusses finances

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By Charlotte Underwood

Much business was conducted at Thursday night’s mayor and aldermen meeting in Jellico.

Board members discussed everything from the status of the sidewalk cave-in to the misappropriations of funds, with several issues in between.

The meeting began with board member Alvin Evans reporting on the status of the sidewalk cave-in.

“It’s in the hands of the engineer and the state’s representative Mitch Loomis. The problem now is one piece of culvert that was ordered and paid for by the state was not delivered,” said Evans.

“No other monies will come. Either the city or the contractor owes the state $7,000 for the culvert and until that happens, there’s about $300,000 tied up,” said Mayor Forster Baird. According to the mayor, the state paid for an extra tile that wasn’t shipped, and the money was instead used to purchase concrete to use instead of a tile.

“Either the engineering firm or Mitch Loomis needs to take some responsibility for that,” said Evans.

Board members seemed worried the cave-in was a liability and someone could get hurt. The mayor asked town attorney Terry Basista if the board would be better off just paying the state off, so the funding would be freed up.

“That could be especially a good option if it could prevent someone from harm,” answered Basista.

“Every day that sits there like that we have a liability,” agreed board member Mike Smith.

The board voted to pay the debt to the state so the project could continue.

“We need to make a statement to them that we’re paying this to settle the debt, but that we still need to make and attempt to recoup that money,” said Smith.

The lack of a city court was also discussed once again at the meeting.

“They are putting us in a situation. We are just drowning in debt by traveling back and forth,” said Baird. The mayor asked Basista if he thought former Judge Don Moses would appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

“I tend to believe that the Supreme Court will not hear the case, but I don’t want to be presumptuous; none of these courts are rubber stamps for the other,” answered Basista.

Basista pointed out that both he and TML Attorney John Roach had advised against installing a temporary court system.

“The appeal process ends on the 26th; getting this close I don’t think we should do anything seeming presumptuous,” said Basista.

Vice Mayor Mike Johnson then approached the board with the issue of financial misappropriations. He asked Evans if he was a local business owner who owned his own truck, to which Evans answered yes.

“Well it has come to my knowledge that your furniture truck has been at the city garage being worked on,” said Johnson.

“To my knowledge it wasn’t repaired during regular hours. Let me put it this way, it wasn’t supposed to be,” answered Evans.

“I just think if that’s tax payers’ money, then a personal vehicle doesn’t need to even be in the city garage,” said Johnson.

“We hauled city property in it, but I agree. He wasn’t’ supposed to work on it during regular hours,” said Evans.

Johnson also asked Evans about two loads of gravel which were purchased by the city for Greenlee Lane and Walker Road.

“It was right at eight tons of gravel, but there hasn’t been any gravel put on either of those roads,” said Johnson.

“I don’t know anything about it, but I will sure find out for you,” answered Evans.

“I’d just like to know if we’re sending gravel out there, whether it’s going or not. It’s only $60 in gravel, but it could turn into more,” said Johnson.

City recorder Linda Evans said she would also check into the purchase order for the gravel.

The meeting continued with a presentation from CASA Representative Jennifer Holt who appeared before the board in an attempt to recruit CASA Volunteers; Holt has also appeared before other municipalities in an attempt to aid the abused children of the county.

The board also discussed the storage of brush behind the utility.

“Somehow the EPA was notified and they came over and looked at the brush back behind the utility. Everything we have back there is in state compliance. Once a month, we need to chip it up and give it away,” said Baird.

The mayor reappointed Charles Violet And Garland Newell to the planning commission, as their appointments had expired. Baird also appointed Sue Maiden and Patsy Trammell to the Jellico Housing Authority Board.

The board also voted to abandon 4th street, which runs into Queen Street.

“We need to officially abandon the street and divide it equally into the two properties. The net effect is the property owners will be responsible for the upkeep,” said Baird.