Local News Articles

Leadership DeKalb Assisting School Programs

August 3, 2014
By: April B. Martin, PhD
Leadership DeKalb Assisting School Programs

In his classic essay titled The Servant as a Leader, author Robert Greenleaf introduced us to the concept of servant leadership and defined it as “the desire to serve.” The "servant's heart," is a fundamental characteristic of a servant-leader. It is not about being servile; it is about wanting to help others. It is about identifying and meeting the needs of colleagues, customers, and communities.

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2014 was comprised of ten community leaders, citizens, business owners, students, educators, health care professionals, and managers. During our monthly meetings over the last year, we learned an immense amount of information about the community in which we all live. Now, as we direct our energies into our class service project, we are learning the importance of servant leadership.

Our class discussed several worthwhile and deserving projects which we could contribute to, but the one which we felt would have the most impact is what we call “Tools for Students.”

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2014 is asking for support from the community in assisting our schools with the resources they need to teach arts, music, and the physical education for every student in the DeKalb County school system. This project is being coordinated with the DeKalb County Foundation for Education, which is a 501 (c) 3 organization and will allow contributions to be tax deductible.

How can you help? Our class will be collecting new or gently used art supplies from companies or individuals. Examples include paint, paintbrushes, paper, pastels, and charcoal pencils. To assist with physical education classes, companies or individuals can donate new or gently used sports equipment such as balls, jump ropes, and hula hoops. Music classes need gently used or new instruments.

Who will benefit from your donation? Every child in DeKalb County who participates in any physical education, art, or music class will have the benefit of these resources made possible through your donation. Monetary donations can also be accepted. Checks should be made out to DeKalb County Foundation for Education.

Who do I contact and where can I make my donation? There are three locations in Smithville where donations or monetary gifts can be dropped off. 1) Kim Frazier, DeKalb Community Hospital; 2) April Martin, UT Extension Office; and 3) Eli Gill, DeKalb Tire and Service.

For more information on this project, please contact either April Martin at 615-597-4945, Kim Frazier at 615-215-5000 or Eli Gill at 615-597-9400.

Photo Caption: Leadership DeKalb 2014 Class Members. Front row, left to right: Jen Sherwood, Executive Director of Leadership DeKalb , David Barrett, Lisa Cripps, Alejandra Cisneros Conohan, and Raul Ramirez. Second row, left to right: Shannon Atkins, Joe Green, April Martin, and Eli Gill. Third row, left to right: Jordan Wilkins, Kim Frazier, Shannon Jones, and Emmaly Bennett.

Man Sentenced for Burglary and Attempted Assault

August 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

A Smithville man pled guilty Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court to aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated assault for allegedly breaking into his neighbor's apartment and attacking another neighbor with a knife last October.

Judge David Patterson sentenced 38 year old Russell Blackwell to three years of probation in the attempted aggravated assault case with the sentence to run consecutive to a violation of probation against him. The aggravated burglary case was dismissed. Blackwell was given jail credit from November 1, 2013 to July 28, 2014.

According to Detective Brandon Donnell, who investigated the case, Smithville Police received a call of a stabbing on Tuesday, October 15 at City Walk Apartments. "Sergeant Andy Snow contacted me and I initiated an investigation. It was determined that Blackwell forced his way into an apartment, causing damage to the front door, and started fighting with the resident there. As another neighbor got between the two to try and break up the fight, Blackwell allegedly pulled a large kitchen knife and cut the neighbor several times who was trying to stop the fight. After the assault, Blackwell ran out of the apartment and allegedly threw the knife on top of the building before returning to his own residence in the apartment complex," said Detective Donnell.

After witnesses identified Blackwell as the man responsible for the assault, police went to his apartment where they found Blackwell and placed him under arrest. The knife was also retrieved from the top of the apartment building.

The wounded man in the knife attack was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

38 year old David Wayne Dowell pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and vandalism under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total sentence of almost two years with ninety days to serve.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, May 16, 2013 Dowell allegedly vandalized a lock on a garage and broke into a residence on Echols Heights in Liberty. Upon talking with the owner, it was determined the following items were stolen: a weedeater and string, boat oars, tool box, tools, orange extension cord, and a yellow five gallon gas can all totaling less than $500. After an investigation, it was determined that Dowell had committed the crimes. He was arrested on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

19 year old Zack Walker pleaded guilty to burglary and received a two year sentence on state probation. He must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommendations.

30 year old Ronald "Jag" Jagnandan pled guilty to sale of a schedule II drug and received a three year sentence suspended to probation. He was fined $2,000 and must make $60 restitution to the sheriff's department.

33 year old Garth Wayne Cantrell pled guilty to attempted sale of a schedule II drug and received a two year sentence suspended to probation. He was fined $2,000.

42 year old Kristie Renea Waggoner pled guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended except for 45 days to serve. She will be on supervised probation for 11 months and 29 days and will lose her license for a period of two years. She was fined $610. Waggoner must complete the Alcohol Safety Education Program and submit to an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment. She must serve seventeen days in jail and will be given twenty eight days credit for in-house treatment as scheduled.

30 year old Erik Cortes Suarez pled guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to 45 days to serve including twenty eight days in rehab and seventeen days at a DUI education center. He will be on supervised probation. Suarez was also fined $610 and he must complete an alcohol safety education program.

Infinity Athletics Holds Summer Camp

August 1, 2014
Infinity Athletics Holds Summer Camp

Infinity Athletics held their annual Summer Stars Cheer Camp July 28-30 for ages 6-12. The campers learned how to do motions and jumps, and stunt and tumble like an allstar. A 2 minute 30 second routine was performed for the parents on the final day. Each camper received a certificate, t shirt and trophy.

Pictured are:
(Top Row) Kendall Davis, Marissa Clark, Lydia Phillips, Audrey Philips, Sophia Angeletti

(Middle Row) Natalya McCarty, Keara Milligan, Kennedi Clark, Jayme Hayes

(Bottom Row) Lola Colwell, Annabella Dakas, Caroline Crook, Lilly Anderson, Brylee Kirby

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 7% in June

August 1, 2014
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for June was 7%, up from the rate for May of 6.3% but still below the rate for June, 2013 of 8.8%.

The local labor force for June, 2014 was 9,260. A total of 8,620 were employed and 650 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for June was fourth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 10.7%
Van Buren: 10.3%
Clay: 9.3%
White: 9.1%
Jackson: 8.8%
Cumberland: 8.3%
Overton: 8.3%
Warren: 8.2%
Fentress: 8%
DeKalb: 7%
Macon: 6.9%
Cannon: 6.7%

County unemployment rates for June 2014 show the rate increased in all 95 counties.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in June at 6.0 percent, up from 5.2 in May. Knox County was 6.3 percent in June, up from 5.3 in May. The Hamilton County June rate was 7.2 percent, up from 6.2 in May. Shelby County was 8.8 percent in June, up from 7.5 in May.

The Tennessee unemployment rate for June was 6.6 percent, up from 6.4 in May; the U.S. rate was 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 in May.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Six Receive Diplomas at Drug Court Graduation

July 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Drug Court Graduation

Two adults and four juveniles along with their families, friends and mentors, gathered Wednesday to celebrate their graduation from the DeKalb County Drug Court program.

The observance was held at the county complex. The adult graduates Tim Bogle and Crystal Baker and the four juveniles received a framed diploma certificate noting their completion of the drug court program through which participants commit to becoming clean and sober.

The drug court program provides an alternative to incarceration for eligible non-violent offenders. "Our juvenile drug court program began in 2002. As we speak today there are only four juvenile drug courts in the state of Tennessee. Of course we are one of them. In fact, DeKalb and Putnam Counties were the first two juvenile drug courts in the state of Tennessee. There are quite a few adult drug courts. Our juvenile drug court in DeKalb County was so successful the first few years of its operation that in 2005 we put together a plan to start an adult drug court program," said General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II in an interview with WJLE. "Tonight we had four juveniles that graduated and we had two adults who graduated from the adult program. Both of our adult graduates, during the course of their participation, had zero sanctions which is amazing. And when I say sanctions, it could be something as minor as not turning in a budget every week or missing a meeting. Certainly a failed drug test would be a sanction. But both of our adult graduates had zero sanctions. Both have been drug free for more than a year. We're extremely proud of them. Both of them came to us straight from jail as most of our drug court participants do so instead of the county spending some $18,000 or $20,000 a year each on our drug court participants, in drug court I think the figure is like $3,000 or $4,000 a year per person. It's a win-win for everyone, said Judge Cook.

"From the drug court staff point of view, we're the ones who really have contact with them all throughout the week," said Norene Puckett, Coordinator of the DeKalb County Drug Court program. "They (drug court participants) have so many requirements so for them to graduate with no sanctions is a very big deal. They have meetings they have to go to every week. Multiple meetings a week. Drug screens. They have to go through random drug screens. They have to turn in all sorts of paperwork to prove they are going to the meetings and have a job. Both of our adults are employed full time now and are active members of the community. The juveniles have all completed their initial treatment. They have completed A and D classes throughout the week. The Positive Action Prevention Program has also been completed by them and they are in good academic standing in their high schools," she said

"The adult program lasts a minimum of twelve months and the juvenile program is a minimum of six months. Any juvenile can be referred to the program through parents, through DCS workers, teachers, and various other ways. Once they are referred to the program, we do different screenings and assessments on them and make a recommendation to the court as to whether they (juveniles) would be good candidates for the program. As far as adult participants, they must have some kind of criminal charge (to participate in drug court). No violent offenders can be in the program. They can come (into the program) through a variety of ways as far as a violation of probation or any kind of drug charge, theft charges, and things like that. Typically they are all facing a minimum of a year to serve so this program is an alternative to incarceration. I've heard the judge tell plenty of participants it's a lot easier to just lay down there (jail) for a year and do their time and we make it very clear to them that it is easier. You can go down to the jail and get served three meals a day or you can get into this program and have a new chance at life. You can graduate like our graduates tonight who have over a year being clean and are working and having their children back and their lives restored. But there are a lot of things they have to do. A lot of the program teaches responsibility and teaches them the tools to stay clean. That's really the benefit to the participants. Of course the benefit to the community is that it saves taxpayer dollars. We get state grants and we're hoping to get a new federal grant that helps pay for the program," said Puckett.

The drug court graduation program Wednesday featured guest speaker Janice Fish-Stewart and former drug court graduate speaker John A. Williams. Stewart currently serves as the Human Resource Manager for YFS Automotive Systems in Gallatin. In her current role as Human Resource Manager, Stewart has designed and implemented Employee Wellness Programs in all of ABC Group's US locations. The program has received recognition from Wellness Councils of America and the Nashville Business Journal being cited as one of Nashville's Healthiest of Employers in 2011, 2012, and most recently in 2014. She served on the Board of the DeKalb County Drug Court in addition to facilitating the Clean and Sober Classes for several years.

Drug court team members who oversee the program locally in addition to Judge Cook and Drug Court Coordinator Puckett are Sheriff Patrick Ray, Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong, John and Kay Quintero from Haven of Hope, primary treatment providers; Assistant Public Defender Allison Rasbury West, Probation Officer Ashley Lasser, Juvenile Case Manager Kristy Longmire, and Adult Case Manager Les Trout.

(PHOTO ABOVE: Seated- Crystal Baker and Tim Bogle. Standing left to right- Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, John Quintero of Haven of Hope, Juvenile Case Manager Kristy Longmire, Kay Quintero of Haven of Hope, Assistant District Public Defender Allison Rasbury West, Drug Court Coordinator Norene Puckett, General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II, Guest speaker Janice Fish-Stewart, Matt Boss, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong, and Adult Case Manager Les Trout)

DeKalb Schools Open for Registration Thursday

July 30, 2014
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will re-open Thursday, July 31 with registration for students who have not already signed up. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

An exception will be made for DeKalb West School where construction remains in progress. Only NEW students to DeKalb West School will need to register Thursday, July 31 and that sign-up will take place at Salem Baptist Church in Liberty. All DWS students who were enrolled last year will NOT attend on Thursday. Buses will still transport high school students from the West School on Thursday. The first day of school for DeKalb West is still set for Monday, August 4. Returning students will be given registration packets to take home that day. Workers are burning the midnight oil finishing up the new addition and other renovations at the school.

Friday, August 1 will be an administrative day for teachers only.

The first full day of school for all students will be Monday, August 4.

The annual First Day of School Education Celebration (FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES) will be Thursday, July 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. on the Smithville public square.


2014 15 Academic Calendar.pdf (139.97 KB)

County Commission Approves Air Ambulance Deal for Residents

July 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Erlanger Lifeforce

In an effort to ensure DeKalb County residents can afford to be flown to a trauma facility for treatment and not be burdened with emergency helicopter bills in the future, the county commission Monday night voted to contract with the AirMedCare Network to provide the service. But County Mayor Mike Foster told WJLE Wednesday that questions have since been raised and the contract won't be signed until more information is provided by AirMedCare.

If the deal goes through, the cost to the county is expected to be more than $71,000 this year. According to Foster, the original proposal by AirMedCare, as discussed in previous budget committee meetings, was too expensive and wasn't included in this year's budget. But after the proposed budget was finalized, the county reconsidered and decided to fund it with a budget amendment after AirMedCare revised its offer. During Monday night's meeting, the county commission adopted the agreement on a 10-2 vote. Those voting in favor were Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr., Jerry Scott, Bradley Hendrix, Jerry Adcock, Rick Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Marshall Ferrell, Larry Summers, and Jimmy Poss. Wayne Cantrell and David McDowell voted against it.

The AirMedCare Network is an alliance among Air Evac Lifeteam, EagleMed, REACH Air Medical Services, and Med-Trans Air Medical Transport creating America's largest air ambulance membership network. An AirMedCare Network Membership automatically enrolls patients in all 4 membership programs, providing membership coverage in over 200 locations across 28 states.

According to AirMedCare, the average bill for a medical air flight is now $25,000. But under this program residents who live within DeKalb County and are air lifted by Erlanger Life Force or the Air Evac Life Team from any location in the county for emergency treatment, will not be billed for the flight as long as they are insured at the time of transport. Patients who are not insured will be billed the "Medicare Allowable Rate". The deal does not apply to patients served by Vanderbilt Life Flight or any other service not in the AirMedCare Network.

Coverage is limited to accidents or medical events inside the county unless residents sign up and pay the $35 upgrade membership fee that covers them and their entire household within AirMedCare's network.

Without the county's participation, patients can get the same coverage from AirMedCare by paying an annual $65.00 household membership fee.

According to County Mayor Foster, the numbers show that the AirMedCare Network (Lifeforce or Air Evac) completed a total of 224 medical flights from DeKalb County between July 1, 2013 to July 28, 2014. Vanderbilt Life Flight completed a total of 71 flights from DeKalb County between January, 2013 to July 28, 2014.

AirMedCare apparently proposes to send the following letter to DeKalb County residents if the contract is signed by the county:

"Great news! Your County Commission has partnered with Erlanger Lifeforce to provide you with a tremendous opportunity. As a DeKalb County resident, you are now covered by a limited AirMedCare Network membership. While you are in DeKalb County, and are insured at time of flight, you will have no out of pocket expense. If you are uninsured at the flight, you will have a reduced bill at the Medicare Allowable Rate."

"In addition to this limited membership, you now have the ability to upgrade to full membership benefits with coverage in the entire AirMedCare Network service area. DeKalb County residents are eligible to upgrade your Entire household for only $35 per year."

"As your local air ambulance, serving area residents from our surrounding bases, Erlanger Lifeforce understands the critical aspect of time in treating medical emergencies. For those of us living in rural America, recovery from illness or injury can depend on how much time it takes to be transported to definitive emergency medical treatment. Erlanger Lifeforce can cut that transportation time in half."

"Even with medical insurance, an air medical transport can leave you with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, burdening you and your family's finances. Upgrading to a full AMCN membership will alleviate this burden. As an AMCN member, if you or family household members are flown by any AMCN provider throughout our 28 state coverage area for a life or limb threatening emergency, you will receive no out-of-pocket expenses. We will work with your benefits provider to secure payment for your flight and what insurance pays will be considered payment-in-full. If you do not have air medical insurance, as a full member of AMCN you will still not be billed."

"Erlanger Lifeforce is part of the AirMedCare Network, the largest United States Air Ambulance Membership Network. A full AMCN membership automatically enrolls you in all provider membership programs, (Air Evac Lifeteam, Med-Trans Air Medical Transport, EagleMed, and REACH Air Medical Services) giving you membership coverage in over 220 locations across 28 states. All AMCN service providers work cooperatively to provide the highest levels of care for you, your family, and your community."

"Upgrade today and you can receive a full membership in the AirMedCare Network at an even lower price compared to the standard individual membership programs, giving you membership across four leading air ambulances operators for the price of one," the letter concludes.

Reyes Gets 32 Year Prison Sentence for Child Rape

July 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jose Reyes

A man who stood trial earlier this month and was convicted of raping an eight year old boy received a 32 year prison term Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

During a sentencing hearing, Judge David Patterson gave 31 year old Jose Reyes just eight years short of the maximum penalty on the charge for which he was found guilty, Rape of a child. The range of punishment in the case was 25 to 40 years.

A motion for a new trial will be heard on August 28

Reyes is accused of raping the boy between November 2012 and March 2013.

The trial was held on Tuesday, July 1 in DeKalb County Criminal Court and it took the jury of six men and six women only half an hour to find Reyes guilty of the crime.

According to Gary McKenzie, Deputy District Attorney General, one of the prosecutors in the case, Reyes was a trusted friend of the boy and his family prior to this incident and he had been renting a room in the home of the child's aunt. "Jose was an acquaintance of the aunt. Somehow there was a friendship. He asked to rent a room and it kind of went from there. It (offense) occurred at the aunt's home. That's where it took place," said McKenzie following the trial.

The child, who has just turned ten years old, testified during the trial that he was at his aunt's home when Reyes committed the act while the two of them were alone in Reyes' bedroom. Although the child did not immediately report the incident to his aunt, he did relate it to his grandmother later while at her home. When the boy's mother learned of the incident, she took him to the sheriff's department to report it, according to the grandmother.

During Monday's hearing Greg Strong, Assistant District Attorney General, asked Judge Patterson to impose the maximum penalty for the crime of 40 years and argued that several enhancing factors called for it including that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of his age or physical or mental disability; the offense was committed by the defendant to gratify his desire for pleasure or excitement; that the defendant had no hesitation about committing a crime when the risk to human life was high; that the defendant abused a position of public or private trust in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or the fulfillment of the offense; and that the defendant knew or should have known that, at the time of the offense, he was HIV positive.

Strong noted that the family's Victim Impact Statement further explains how the crime has affected them. The child's mother wrote that the crime of child rape affects the whole family. It has affected her child in many ways. He has been in trouble at school and is not able to concentrate. He has mood swings and suffers from low self esteem. And because of the rape, the child has to be frequently tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

While the family sought the maximum sentence for Reyes, they are praying for him, according to a brief statement from the child's mother read by Assistant DA Strong during Monday's hearing. "I and (the child) forgive you and pray for you daily and pray you find peace and forgiveness for yourself".

In a formal statement to the court, Reyes maintained his innocence. For some thirty minutes, Reyes through an interpreter talked about his relationship with the victim and his family and explained why he was not guilty of the crime.

Allison West, Assistant District Public Defender, asked the court to impose the minimum sentence and to discount the enhancing factors offered by the state prosecutors. " We understand that Mr. Reyes has been convicted of a very serious offense. As the court can tell from what he has to say, he maintains his innocence. Mr. Reyes does not have a significant criminal history. He has only two DUI's (from 2005 in DeKalb County and another from 2009 in White County). He has no felony history and no violent history. He is not a native to our country and does not understand the appropriate actions or consequences of his actions as we might see them. We would ask the court to impose a 25 year sentence," said West.

While Judge Patterson did not find appropriate all the enhancing factors offered by the state in this case , he did take into consideration Reyes' previous history of criminal conviction or behavior; the personal injury inflicted or impact on the victim; and an abuse of Reyes' position of trust in reaching his decision for a 32 year sentence.

Grand Jury Indicts Thirty Eight

July 29, 2014
Dwayne Page

The new term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury began Monday and thirty eight people were indicted including two named in sealed indictments. The names of those charged in sealed indictments cannot be made public until they are arrested. Arraignment day for each defendant is Monday, August 11 in DeKalb County Criminal Court

Those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Billy Braswell and Quastaia Braswell-Initiation of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Schedule II drug over .5 grams, Aggravated Child Abuse, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Speeding, Open Container, and Financial Responsibility

Jeri N. Beckham- Theft under $500 (3 counts)

Kevin Bogle- Driving under the Influence, Driving on a Suspended License, and Reckless Driving

Lucas Shane Bogle- Theft over $1,000

Dustin Burgess- Driving on a Suspended License (2nd offense), Vandalism over $1,000, Theft over $500, Criminal Trespass

Terry Burton- Reckless Driving

Rhonda Butler- Driving under the Influence, Financial Responsibility, and Registration Violation

Latasha Nicole Cantrell- Theft under $500

Elizabeth Chalfant-Forgery, Theft under $500, Driving on a Suspended License (4th offense)

Ronald Collins, II- Driving under the Influence, Open Container, Failure to Stop at Stop Sign, Violation of the Light Law, and Failure to Change Address on Drivers License

Alton David Estes- Theft over $1,000 (3 counts), Theft over $1,000 (2 counts), and Theft over $500

Philando Fullilove- Possession of a Schedule II drug, Possession of a Schedule VI drug, and No Seatbelt

Patrick Jess Gilliam- Evading Arrest, Reckless Endangerment (2 counts), and Driving on a Suspended License

Edward Lee Judkins-Burglary and Theft over $500, Possession of a Schedule VI drug, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (2 counts), Registration Violation, and Financial Responsibility

Travis Kinnaird-Telephone Harassment

Roxanne Landis- Theft under $500

Stacy Dawn Lannon- Theft over $10,000

Steve Mabe, Jr.- Theft over $500

John Thomas Mason- Evading Arrest and Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Karla Montgomery- Theft over $500 (2 counts) and Criminal Trespass

Christopher Mooneyham- Possession of a Schedule III drug and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Stephen Jason Moore- Burglary and Theft under $500

Pamela Moyers- Driving under the Influence, No Driver's License, and Financial Responsibility

Nieka Danielle Barrett Patton- Possession of a Schedule IV drug (2 counts), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving on a Suspended License, Financial Responsibility, and Failure to Maintain Lane of Travel

Deanna Brooke Pedigo- Assault

John Hargrove Perry- Assault

Danny Ray Prater- Domestic Assault

Christopher Prince- Possession of a Schedule VI drug

Lisa Lue Ray- Introduction of Contraband into a Penal Institution

Dwayne Allen Reeder- Domestic Assault (2 counts)

Martin Riley, III- Theft over $10,000

Kenneth Roberts- Theft under $500 (2 counts), Theft over $500 (2 counts)

Dorothy Hellene Thaxton- Aggravated Assault

Johnny Trapp- Driving under the Influence (7th offense), Driving on a Revoked License (2nd offense), and Violation of the Habitual Motor Offender

Jeremy Robert Vaughn- Vandalism under $500

County Commission Adopts New Budget, Sets Tax Rate

July 29, 2014
Dwayne Page

The county commission adopted the 2014-15 consolidated budget and set the property tax rate during Monday night's meeting at the courthouse. The new budget totals $43,847,750 and the tax rate remains the same for another year at $1.62 per $100 of assessed value.

"This is pretty much the same budget we had last year with very little in the way of changes," said County Mayor Mike Foster during Monday night's meeting.

The largest single project expected to be undertaken this budget year is the development of a solid waste transfer station. The county is currently seeking sealed bids through 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 5th for the furnishing of all labor, material, equipment, and services. The facility will be constructed on property in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. The Smithville Industrial Board deeded the land to the City of Smithville, who in turn, deeded it to the county for the transfer station. According to the bid notice, the work under the contract will include the construction of a 5,400 square foot pre-engineered metal building as a solid waste transfer station including a scale house building and office building; construction of an access road with erosion control measures; stripping of 8,900 cubic yard top soil; 7,500 cubic yard site excavation; 6,000 cubic yard borrow material; 6,500 tons of mineral aggregate base stone; and 3,175 tons of hot mix. The bid opening will be Tuesday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

"This is one of those things (Transfer Station) that we tentatively began planning for ten years ago," said Foster in a recent interview with WJLE. "We started setting aside depreciation and (landfill) post closure money. We put that (money) into a fund because we knew we eventually wanted to get out of the Class 1 landfill business. We started saving for it and we now have that money in the bank," said Foster. The existing Class I landfill, located off Billings Road in the eastern portion of the county, will soon be full. Foster said he is hopeful that the transfer station can be opened by December. "According to the engineering estimates, we probably have nine months left on it (existing landfill). It's probably going to take five months to get the transfer station going. But we'll still put some stuff in there (existing landfill) until we fill it. Then we'll do a Class III/IV cell for construction material," he said.

Full time county general and sheriff's department employees due a pay raise under the existing step wage scales will get them and part time workers can expect at least a quarter per hour increase in pay under the new budget

The budget also includes funds to offer health insurance to full time county general employees under the Affordable Health Care Act. Some part time employees could see their hours adjusted in order to comply with the federal law. "We considered them part time if they worked 35 hours or less. The federal government now considers them part time if they work 30 hours or less so we had to do a little bit of adjusting. They are all actually supposed to work 28 hours anyway but some, through attrition, etc, had shuffled around and were working 33 and 32 hours. By law we have to do this (adjust hours) or pay insurance for these guys," said Foster.

As a result, Foster explained that the hours of operation at some solid waste convenience sites will be changed a bit " We had to do a little bit of adjusting to some of the hours at some of the stations but we have done that to where nobody works more than three days a week. Village Market (Cookeville Highway Convenience Site) is open six days a week. Most of the time it opens at eight o'clock but we have one day where we open at seven o'clock, from seven until five. Four days its open from eight until five. Friday its open from nine until six and Sunday its open from nine until five," said Foster. "Snow Hill is one of our busy sites too. It's basically the same thing. We try to have it open later a day or two during the week and a day or two that's early. Those two sites (Cookeville Highway and Snow Hill) are open seven days a week. Shiney Rock is open six (days a week). Blue Springs is open six (days). Keltonburg is open six (days). Belk is open five (days) and fewer hours because it gets less use than a lot of the others. Midway is open six (days). It has a lot of lake traffic. We open it on Monday from eleven until six. Tuesday eleven to six. Closed on Wednesday. Open Thursday eleven until six. Friday eleven until six. Saturday nine until six and Sunday from nine until six. Alexandria is closed on Thursday. Liberty is closed on Wednesday. At Temperance Hall we open the gates seven days a week. Silver Point is closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in order to benefit lake traffic on the weekends and late in the afternoons. People can bring garbage to the landfill on Monday from six until five and we have somebody there from two thirty until five. Tuesday its six until two thirty. Wednesday its six until five. Thursday is six until two thirty. Friday is six until two thirty. Saturday is seven until three and closed on Sunday," said Foster.

One cent of the tax rate generates $42,953 in local money with a 7.7% delinquency rate figured into the equation.

The proposed tax rate is broken down as follows:
County General: 82 cents
Highway/Public Works: 3 cents
General Capital Projects: 10 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
General Purpose Schools: 55 cents.

The solid waste fund, under this budget, will not receive any property tax money but will continue to be supported by revenues derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax, etc.

Capital projects fund expenses for the year total $641,000 including:
*"Motor Vehicles" Ambulance- $120,000
*"Other Equipment" (Heart monitors for ambulance service)-$90,000
*"Motor Vehicles" Patrol Cars-$80,000
*"Motor Vehicles" for litter truck-$8,000
*"Other Equipment"- Fire department Turnout Gear-$23,000
*"Building Construction" Courthouse-$110,000 (new roof and parapet wall)
*"Solid Waste Equipment" Skidsteer/Backhoe-$70,000 (for transfer station)
*"Solid Waste Equipment" Rollback Truck-$131,000 (landfill)
*"Other Construction" for speed bumps and paving- $9,000.

The county commission also adopted a resolution making appropriations of $145,584 to the following non-profit organizations:
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $16,821
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$26,934
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$34,062
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$15,000
Imagination Library- $7,200
Genesis House- $1,500
Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center- $1,780
DeKalb County Fair- $1,500
WCTE-TV- $5,000
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$9,245

The new school budget includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS; funds for additional coaching supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570; two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School/West School Cross Country Coach and a DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395); and an assistant high school football coach ($2,785); a half-time speech pathologist; a new full time Technology position; and a four thousand dollar pay raise for the Transportation Director position.


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