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LaFollette City Council rebids roofing projects

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By PETER SAWYER

At Tuesday’s meeting, the LaFollette City Council voted to rebid three roofing projects.

The bids for these projects, fire hall three, West LaFollette Community Center and East LaFollette Community Center, didn’t conform to the minutes of August’s meeting. The Municipal Technical Advisory Service and LaFollette City Attorney Reid Troutman advised the city council to rebid the projects.

Sealed bids were opened Aug. 23, after the bids had been advertised as a package.

The council discussed accepting one of these bids at the workshop on Aug. 27.

“I recall that we’re going to break it up in three different sections,” Troutman had said.

The council looked at the minutes from the August meeting, and found the council had voted to bid the projects separately.

Tuesday night, Troutman advised the members of the council to rebid the projects the way they had voted at August’s meeting.

“I don’t think we have much choice,” Troutman said. “The bottom line is, we bid incorrectly.”

Interim city administrator Cade Sexton took blame for the way the projects had been bid.

“I feel responsible for it not going in on separate bids,” Sexton said. “I was (told) we would get better prices if we bid them together. It’s done been done. That’s a mistake on my part.”

“I’m not for rebidding it,” Council Member Hansford Hatmaker said.

Council Member Stephanie Grimm pointed out the council had already voted to bid the projects separately.

“That happens a lot in life,” Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker argued the council would save $46,000 by accepting one of the bids it had received for the project.

“I know it’s not the right thing to do, but if it saves us $46,000, it’s the right thing to do,” Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker also pointed out the sealed bids had already been opened.

“You’ve created more problems than we already got,” Hatmaker said. “Two wrongs don’t make a right. We’ve already opened up everything. I can see where we’re headed for more trouble if we don’t (go ahead) and do it this way.”

Troutman told the council members they had exposure if they went ahead and accepted a bid that was opened Aug. 23, or if they voted to rebid. However, the council would have less exposure if the projects were rebid separately.

“I concur with what MTAS said,” Troutman said.

Hatmaker made a motion to accept one of the bids from Aug. 23.

“So you’re going against what our attorney advises?” Grimm asked.

Hatmaker’s motion didn’t get a second.

Bolinger made a motion to rebid the projects separately. Grimm seconded it. Hatmaker was the only no vote.

Energy Lighting Grant

The council approved applying for an energy lighting grant with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Stoke Electric. The city will pay $45,120 to have its buildings inspected, and lights would be replaced with more energy efficient equipment, Sexton said. TVA will refund $26,267 of the cost, and the city will save money with lower energy bills.

“It’s really (going to) save the city a lot of money,” Sexton said.

Freeman Park

The council approved removing a fountain at Freeman Park.

“(We’re) going to dress up that park,” Sexton said.

Sexton hopes to trim the trees and maybe install a new, smaller fountain, he said.

“We’re not asking for that,” Sexton said. “We’re asking for permission to take that old fountain out.”

The work can be completed in house, he said.

Public Works

The council made appropriations for three paving projects.

The LaFollette Public Works Department is paving the parking lot at the Lyons building, which will cost $6,420. The council approved paying for half of the project. The owners of the building will pay the other half. The council also approved paying $780 for paving at the courthouse annex building.

Estimates for the Mullis Trail paving project were high, and estimates for the High Street paving project were low.

“I’m not asking for any new money,” Public Works Department Head Jim Mullins said. “Just take it out of one pocket and put it in the other.”

Community Service Money

The council approved a resolution that will amend the budget, allocating $470,000 from the community service fund. This money will finance several projects. By setting aside this money for projects, the budget won’t have to be amended each time the council votes to approve these projects.

Old Library

The council approved using $36,000 of community service funds to renovate the old library facility.

After this project is finished, Codes Enforcement Officer Stan Foust’s office will move into the building, and a new conference room will also be installed there.

City Parks

The council approved the first reading on an ordinance Troutman drafted that will establish a code for city parks.

This code includes policies about unlawful activities, sanitation, traffic, hours, recreation, signs, animals in the parks and liabilities for injuries.

LUB

The council approved a resolution from the LaFollette Utilities Board, which provided $996,258.63 in lieu of property taxes.

Zoning

The council approved the first reading of an ordinance that amends the highway business district.