Local News Articles

Smithville Police Have Busy Week

October 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

In addition to pending charges against 18 year old Lillian Sosa in the death of her newborn Friday night, Smithville Police have filed more reports of thefts, vandalism, assaults, and have made at least one drug arrest within the last week.

Chief Richard Jennings says 21 year old Travis Summers is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), driving under the influence, and violation of the implied consent law.

Officer Randy King, in his report, states that "On October 24th, at 10:56 p.m., I stopped Summers for failing to signal a turn onto South Mountain Street. He was driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle. While I was writing the citations, Officer Craig Capps did a routine sweep of the outside perimeter of the vehicle. K-9 Astro (dog) indicated to possible drug location. K-9 Astro alerted by scratching. Upon a search, Officer Capps found a small amount of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Summers was then placed under arrest. After returning to the police department, he was advised of his rights and made a statement to myself and Officer Capps that he had smoked about three hours before and did not wish to have blood taken for testing."

Summers is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on the charges December 6th.

Meanwhile, Officer Matt Holmes, in his report regarding a vandalism and theft, states that, I met with an employee of the El Gato car lot at 429 East Broad Street who advised me that he had come into work on the morning of October 22nd and noticed four cars of the car lot had been tampered with."

"Vehicle # 1, a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix was setting on blocks and all four wheels were gone. The right front window was broken out on vehicle # 2, a 1997 Ford Taurus, but nothing was taken. The left side wheels were taken off vehicle #3, a 1999 Mercury Cougar, and the left side of the car was set up on blocks. The right side back window of vehicle #4, a 1996 Dodge Dakota extended cab, was broken out and a radio was missing. The employee advised me that he did not know who might have committed the offense. The total damage was around $890.00"

On October 22nd, Officers Travis Bryant and Matt Holmes responded to 1275 South Mountain Street in regard to a stolen vehicle. Officer Bryant's report states that "I spoke with Richard Teachout who advised that his car, a 1997 Honda Civic, was parked in his driveway at about 10:00 p.m. on October 21st and when he came out, he noticed the car was missing at about 10:00 a.m. on October 22nd." Teachout stated that he did not loan the car to anyone, but added that the vehicle was for sale. The car is valued at $4,890.

In another case, 42 year old Wendy Kay Goodman is charged with aggravated assault. Her bond is $25,000 and she will be in court on the charge December 6th.

According to the warrant, Goodman assaulted Mark Koch at 624 Restview Avenue on October 22nd by stabbing him in the chest with a knife causing him to have to go to the hospital emergency room for treatment.

Meanwhile, 22 year old Krista D. MaHaney is charged with assault. She and another woman, Diane Hale reportedly got into a fight at the emergency room of the hospital on October 21st. Police say it appeared that MaHaney was the aggressor.

MaHaney's bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on the charge November 15th.

Sosa Charged with Second Degree Murder in the Death of her Newborn Son

October 28, 2007
Dwayne Page

18 year old Lillian Elizebeth Sosa of Talley Road, Smithville is in the DeKalb County Jail, charged with second degree murder in the death of her newborn baby on Friday night.

Sosa's bond is set at one million dollars.

She will appear in DeKalb County General Sessions Courton Thursday, November 8th, unless a bond reduction hearing is held earlier.

Sosa was released from the Cookeville Hospital today (Monday) after undergoing emergency surgery Saturday.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings held a press conference with local and Nashville media Sunday afternoon to provide more details about the case and the investigation that led to Sosa's arrest.

Chief Jennings says Sosa, an Hispanic who speaks little or no English, has only been in this country for about a month and lives with relatives at 342 Talley Road, Smithville. She was recently employed as a waitress at the El Rancho Restaurant at 1101 West Broad Street, Smithville and had only worked there one day last week and for an hour and a half Friday, before leaving the restaurant after giving birth to the child and dumping it in a ladies restroom trash can.

According to Chief Jennings, Sosa apparently locked herself in the ladies restroom of the restaurant and gave birth to the child, possibly between 7:20 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. She then came out of the restroom, told her boss that she needed to leave because she was sick, and called for someone to give her a ride home. Sosa's aunt reportedly came to the restaurant and picked her up.

Jennings says the child was discovered around 9:20 p.m. by a waitress, Karla Leon, who went into the ladies rest room to clean up, as staff were preparing to close the restaurant for the night. Leon then reported her discovery to the manager and they called 911. "The officers arrived and talked to the restaurant manager, Alfredo Villa. He said that the baby was discovered when one of the employees was cleaning up the restroom at the end of the business day. Customers had already left the restaurant when she discovered the body."

"In talking to Mr. Villa, we found out that they were very busy that night. They had probably 40 or 42 people in the restaurant during that period of time. We tried to pinpoint the exact time this might have happened and in talking to Mr. Villa we found out that between 7:20 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. was when they were really busy. During that period of time, there was a female customer who complained that she couldn't get in the ladies rest room for about 20 minutes because the door was locked. Eventually, whoever was in there left, and she (female customer) went in to use the rest room and saw blood spots on the floor, on the toilet, and in various places. Mr. Villa sent a waitress, Karla Leon in to clean the rest room. She went in and cleaned it up with bleach."

"They closed the restaurant around 9:20 p.m. and Mr Villa told Karla to go back into the rest rooms to clean them again. When she went in to the women's rest room to clean it up, she noticed that the trash can was a lot heavier than normal. She reached into the trash can, which had a flip top lid on it, looked in and saw a baby's foot sticking up through the towels in the trash bag. She told the manager and they immediately called 911."

Agents Billy Miller and Dan Friel of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were notified and joined the Smithville Police Department in the investigation later that night, and after interviewing employees, decided they needed to talk to Sosa.

After discovering where she lives, Sheriff Patrick Ray went to the address on Talley Road and picked her up around 4:00 a.m. Saturday. She was brought to the Smithville Police Department, where she was interviewed by the TBI agents.

During the questioning of Sosa through an interpreter, agents determined she was a likely suspect in the case and took her to DeKalb Community Hospital for an examination. The emergency room doctor found that she had recently given birth and suggested that she undergo emergency surgery, because she had suffered some potentially life threatening complications during the delivery.

Sosa was then transported to the Cookeville Hospital early Saturday morning. She came through the surgery fine and is expected to be released Monday, after which she will be taken into custody and charged in the case.

A guard is posted at the hospital around the clock to make sure she dosen't leave before she is released.

Chief Jennings says the baby was sent to Nashville for an autopsy. The infant, a male, fully developed child, weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 19 inches long. He says it appears the mother carried the child about eight months.

The exact time of death hasn't been determined, but Chief Jennings says it is believed that the infant was still alive when he was found. " I have a statement from one of the EMT personnel, who stated that when he was getting the child out of the trash can and preparing to transport him to the hospital, he believed he could see the baby's chest rising and falling slightly and believes the child was breathing. However, sometime either during the transport or after the child got to the emergency room, he was pronounced dead. Judging from the condition of the body, there were no marks on the child. He appeared to be perfectly normal. There was no evidence of trauma. The only thing that we discovered was that the umbilical cord was not cut, it was pulled apart."

Man Critically Injured In Stabbing

October 28, 2007
Dwayne Page

An Hispanic man was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville early Sunday morning after being stabbed numerous times.

The man, believed to be in his early 20's, was found in the driveway of a barracks where migrant workers reside at Pirtle's Nursery on Short Mountain Road.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, someone at the barracks heard the man screaming in pain, discovered him lying in the driveway, and called 911 around 2:15 a.m.

Sheriff Ray says since no one apparently witnessed the attack, authorities are uncertain if the stabbing occurred where the man was found, or if it took place somewhere else and he had come to this location to get help.

He says the man suffered numerous stab wounds to his chest, back, and head area. He was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and then flown by Life Flight to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. He is listed in very critical condition.

Sheriff Ray says authorities believe they know the identity of the victim, but won't release his name until they can confirm it.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Willie Thomas to Run for Assessor of Property- Timothy (Fud) Banks Seeks Re-Election

October 27, 2007
Dwayne Page

Incumbent Assessor of Property Timothy (Fud) Banks has qualified to seek re-election. Banks will be a candidate for the nomination in the February 5th DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

He will face opposition from Seventh district county commissioner and Smithville alderman Willie Thomas, who has also qualified to run for Assessor of Property.

Meanwhile, three people have qualified to run for constable in the primary.

Thomas was elected to the county commission from the 7th district in August 2006, and was elected alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election in June of this year.

Banks was first elected Assessor of Property in 1996 and will be seeking his fourth term.

Meanwhile, Mary Thomason has qualified to run for constable in the seventh district, Cantrell Jones will be a candidate for constable in the sixth district, and Incumbent Mark Milam will seek re-election as constable in the fifth district.

DeKalb County Democrats will nominate candidates for the offices of Assessor of Property and Constable in each of the county's seven districts on Tuesday, February 5th.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Lisa Peterson says Democratic and Independent candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable may qualify with the Election Commission now through the deadline of noon December 13th.

Democrats will qualify for the February 5th Primary while Independents will qualify for the August 7th, 2008 DeKalb County General Election.

DeKalb County Republicans select their nominees for the DeKalb County General Election by convention, rather than a primary, but GOP candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable must also be qualified to run for the August Election by noon December 13th.

The DeKalb County Republican Party is scheduled to hold a meeting Saturday, November 3rd at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse to give potential local GOP candidates an opportunity to publicly announce their intentions.

Chili Cook-Off Raises $3,800 for Habitat for Humanity

October 26, 2007

Approximately 400 people again enjoyed chili Friday at Habitat for Humanity’s Fourth Annual Chili Cook-off, which was held on the Courthouse Lawn. “The Chuck Wagon Chili Crew” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took the top honors for Best Chili, with The Inn at Evins Mill following in second place. In the decorating contest, “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing successfully defended their title by winning the “Best Decorated” booth award.

According to Tecia Puckett Pryor, Habitat board vice president, the event raised a total of $3,800.00, which will be used toward the building of the Gibbs Family Habitat home, which is currently under construction on Adams Street in Smithville. “We were really pleased with the turnout and participation at this year’s cook-off,” said Pryor. “We especially appreciate all the chili teams for their hard work and dedication to this event and to all those who made the delicious baked goods. The bake sale alone raised $857.50 and is vital to the success of this event.” Pryor added, “We’re already looking forward to next year.”

Ten teams participated in the chili cook-off, including “Great Bowls of Fire” from Bradley Printing, “Curves Divas” from Curves of Smithville, “Hot Checks Chili” from DeKalb Community Bank, “Chuck Wagon Chili Crew” from the DeKalb County Board of Education, “The Courthouse Crew” from the DeKalb County Courthouse, “Edgar Evins Chili Peppers” from Edgar Evins State Park, The Inn at Evins Mill, “Fire in the Hole” from the Rick and Joanna Webb family, “The Risk Takers” from Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, and “Sundance Kids” from Sundance Restaurant. The Middle Tennessee Times again had a “Times Tummy Table,” and sold items for post-chili relief, which donations were matched by The Times.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

THP Urges Drivers To Help Keep Halloween A Treat For Children

October 26, 2007

Halloween is a fun night for both children and adults, but the Tennessee Department of Safety is urging everyone to take extra precautions, so the evening doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

“We want children, their parents and all drivers to remember that safety must come first,” said Commissioner David Mitchell. “On Halloween, neighborhoods are typically swarming with excited trick-or-treaters. The problem comes when careless or impaired drivers get behind the wheel of a vehicle and make it a dangerous night for others on our roadways.”

Alcohol was involved in half of the traffic fatalities on Halloween between 12:00 a.m., October 31, 2006, through 6:00 a.m., November 1, 2006. Once again this year, Tennessee Highway Patrol Troopers will be aggressively cracking down on motorists who drive impaired.

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. The number of people in the United States who were arrested for driving under the influence dropped slightly from 2004 to 2005, but the number is still staggering. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, nearly 1.4 million people were arrested for DUI during 2005. In Tennessee last year, 1,287 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. That’s up 1.3 percent from 2005.

“There is no excuse for drinking and driving,” stated Colonel Mike Walker. “Troopers will be working across the state to keep impaired drivers off the road. Make no mistake, if you’re caught driving under the influence this Halloween, you will be under arrest.”

Troopers will be conducting sobriety and driver license checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols in an effort to stop impaired drivers and save lives.

All drivers also need to take extra care on Halloween because there will be a lot of children out in costumes. The CDC reports that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween than any other evening of the year. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about being safe while trick-or-treating.


Tips for Motorists

Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs. Enter and exit driveways carefully.

Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited – and they are not paying attention.

Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.
Tips for Parents

Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.

Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.

Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.

Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.

Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians
(children and adults)

Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.

Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.

Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.

When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.

Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Climbs to 4.1% in September

October 26, 2007

DeKalb County's Unemployment Rate for September climbed to 4.1%, up from the August rate of 3.7%, but it was still below the rate for September 2006 of 4.9%

The DeKalb County Labor Force in September was 10,330. A total of 9,910 were employed and 420 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September increased from the August rate of 4.0 percent to 4.7 percent, an increase of 0.7 percent. The United States rate was also 4.7 percent for September, an increase of 0.1 percent from August.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September show that nine counties remained unchanged. There were 82 counties that increased and four counties decreased.

Knox County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.2 percent. Lincoln County followed at 3.3. Maury County had the state's highest at 9.4 percent, followed by Marshall County at 8.4 percent.

Knoxville had the state's lowest major metropolitan statistical area (MSA) rate at 3.4 percent. The Nashville-Murfreesboro MSA was 3.7 percent. The Chattanooga MSA was 3.9 percent and the Memphis MSA was 4.9 percent, up from 4.6 percent.

Construction On New Smithville Fire Hall to Begin Soon

October 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

Construction may begin next week on a new 9,200 square foot fire hall for the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the new two story addition will connect to the existing fire hall behind city hall. "We're adding on to the existing city hall building. There will be a little space in between. It will be a stand alone building but walkways will connect the two buildings. We will have rooms downstairs for some storage and on the second floor, there will be a large training room, and a living quarters with bedrooms and bunk rooms where hopefully we can have some full time firefighters in the near future. There will be a kitchen area and bathrooms up there. We're trying to set this up for the future and not just what we're needing right now."

"It is going to be a two story building. Each level is 4,600 square feet, or a total of 9,200 square feet between the two floors. It will be a masonry structure on the bottom made of concrete blocks and brick. The main structure will be steel on the inside with brick on the outside all the way around. It's actually going to be little taller than the city hall building is now because of the height of the garage doors. We had to get 14 feet high in order to get the trucks in on the bottom level. We're going to continue to use the three bays that we have there now and we're adding three more bays on to that. These are going to be drive through bays and they will be quite a bit larger where we can accommodate a bigger truck, like a ladder truck for future expansion. We would like to have already had one (ladder truck), but with the constraints of the existing building in size we didn't have any place to put it, and there was no need of having a truck of that expense setting outside. The bays will be roughly about 65 feet long so we could actually park two shorter trucks back to back and take them out, one on each street, Walnut or Main Street. They will be able to enter from one street and drive all the way through the building to the other street."

"As of right now we have four vehicles including two fire engines, a rescue, and a utility or service vehicle. One of those vehicles is setting outside. This new fire hall will allow us to get all four vehicles inside and allow for future expansion."

Chief Parker says the new building will come with a sprinkler system and backup generators. "The new building will be fully sprinkled so it will meet all the new NFPA specs. That's one of the things we're pushing is fire safety and with sprinklers in the building we're setting a good example for the other businesses. It will also have generators so we'll be able to operate in case of power outages. As they're putting the garage doors on the new building, part of the deal is to change the doors on the old building too so they will match. They're needing repair and replacing anyway."

A ground breaking ceremony was held earlier this week and Parker says some work should begin on Monday morning. "That's when they are going to start removing some of the trees and begin tearing up the pavement in the back parking lot, ripping it out and hauling it off."

The new fire hall should be completed by April, if winter weather doesn't slow the project.

Parker says other than taking up some parking places, the construction will not interfere with the operation of the fire department in any way.

The city budgeted $900,000 for the project and J & S Construction got the bid to build the fire hall.

Chief Parker says once the building is finished, the department would like to explore the possibility of purchasing a ladder truck. "We would like to buy a ladder truck. It's expensive but we are in need of it. We have several large factories inside the city. During the devastating fire we had at Moog a couple of years ago, the first piece of outside equipment we called for, some kind of aerial device, was a ladder truck from Cookeville and Monterey. That was the closest one available. We had none in the city or the county. It would be the same thing again if we had another major fire."

"It doesn't have to be a three or five story building. We could use a ladder truck in the downtown area where you can't really get ladders up on those old buildings. There's several places around, not just the factories, where we could use that truck. So after we get the building built, we have a schedule of events and that's one thing we'll try for."

Parker says he believes the city is large enough to have a few paid full time firefighters. "It's a city council and a community decision, but we think Smithville can support some full time firefighters on the job. The way the community is changing and growing and the way that laws and insurance regulations are changing, we need them. We enjoy helping the community but it takes a lot of time."

"We're looking at a combination department, where there would be some full time firefighters. We would still have a large number of volunteers that would do quite a bit of the work, but the full time people, at the fire hall, could leave quicker with the trucks, improving response time. Those paid personnel could be in the truck and enroute when a call comes in. Plus, there are other things they can do as far as pre-planning, checking things ahead of time, and getting some things lined up."

Commission Renews Agreement with Detention Health Care Associates

October 23, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night entered into a new agreement with Detention Health Care Associates to provide inmate medical care at the DeKalb County Jail.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the cost to the county is $89,000, which is $2,000 more than last year, but more services are being offered. "It's the same program that we've been having except they have enhanced it a little bit. We're getting a psychiatrist that can evaluate prisoners here and that will save us a lot of trips taking prisoners to Moccasin Bend. A nurse also comes here 30 hours a week and a doctor will come here occasionally, but the doctor and or psychiatrist also has the ability to look at patients from where he is using a TV communication system, where he can interview them, see what's wrong with them, and diagnose them that way. They literally have a two way television set up to where they can talk to each other, and he can see them, and the nurse would be there and check vital signs and that kind of thing. This year they will pay for all of the prescription and non-prescription medicines and a dentist will be available. It's a better way of budgeting for us because it allows us to know more about what we are going to be spending, though there are still some unknowns because the patient could get injured or sick and we'd have to carry them to the hospital."

The county is responsible for the cost of inmate hospital stays or trips to the emergency room.

In other business, the commission approved a budget amendment, in the amount of $67,150 to relocate the garbage collection convenience site on Highway 56 south.

Foster says the money came to the county from the state settlement on the expansion of the highway. The county paid $45,000 to purchase the property from Lloyd Shores and the rest of the money is being used to develop the site. "We bought 1.6 acres about a half mile north of the old convenience site location. We've got it graveled. Kenny (Edge) came and graveled it and got it rolled. They checked it last week about putting the electrical power back there. I talked to the state today (Monday) about getting a permit for a septic system. We're going to use that trailer we got from FEMA for the building and we'll plumb in a septic system. They've got the water meter already in. They've started putting the fence up. We'll also pour a slab for the compactor to set on. Ernie and Betsy Lynam owned the property at the old convenience site and we had to pay them $9,360 for the slab that was there, because it belonged to them. Hopefully, within another month or six weeks, we'll have it approved and open. It's a big site that has a lot of room. We can do a lot of recycling things there. It's a good location."

The commission voted to enter into an agreement with EMS Consultants to do the billing for the county run ambulance service. EMS Consultants will receive a fee of 6.5% of accounts collected.

County officials had purchased the accounting software from EMS Consultants with the intention of doing the billing in house, but discovered that the job was much more complex and time consuming.

Foster says "The software cost us $12,000. Because they are going to do the billing for us, we will get the $12,000 back, plus we will not need a full time secretary there. We'll still have to do the entries, but we think the EMT's and the director can enter them. We may need a part time person later. EMS Consultants will receive 6.5% for accounts collected. If they don't collect, they don't get paid. They do it for hospitals and other ambulance services and they will help us get our certification from Medicare and TennCare for free. Our overall costs may be a little higher, but we believe they will probably collect more than we would be able to."

The county has been operating the ambulance service since October 1st and Foster says things are running smoothly so far. "It's working pretty well. We still have a few bugs to work out but the good benefit is that we still have the good paramedics and EMTs that we wanted to keep and the county now has some say so over the ambulance service. The ambulance service is now located at the corner of Mountain Street and Meadowbrook Drive in the old Fina Market building.

The county commission also Monday night voted to begin the process of selling the building that housed the former location of the ambulance service on Highway 56 north, the Cookeville Highway. Foster says the money from the sale will be applied to the purchase of the new location.

The commission adopted an inpatient transport agreement granting DeKalb Community Hospital a special billing rate. Foster says "They give us a special rate with their billing and we feel like we should give them a special rate, if they have a patient there that they need to transport, that they have to pay for, which sometimes they do. For the Basic Life Support non emergency transport, the rate will be $150 and $4.00 per mile. For BLS emergency transport, the rate is $175. The rate for Advanced Life Support non emergency is $200, and for Advanced Life Support emergency transport, the rate is $225 and $4.00 per mile." Foster says these fees are very comparable to TennCare rates.

Residents in the River Trace and Billings Road area have requested that speed limits be posted there due to a couple of dangerous places and the amount of traffic on the roads. The county commission voted to ask the state to conduct a speed limit study there.

Foster wants the county and city to form a joint parks committee, which would give local governments a better chance of receiving grants for recreational purposes.

Foster says "In order to apply for any of the recreation and parks grants, we must have a parks committee. If we don't do it with them (city), we may do it next month on our own. It's probably a little premature right now because the mayor needs to talk to the city aldermen, who would need to ratify it. There may be a problem for the city in that whoever is on a city board must reside in the city of Smithville."

"We've got to do one (parks committee) because we've already got some grants in the past for projects that are going to have to be looked at by some people, like some of the ball parks. I know we have a problem with one of the little league fields, concerning some hand rails. We must have a parks and recreation committee to check them for safety, whether we apply for a grant or not, and if we do apply for any further grants, we must have this committee in place. There are some grants out there now, or will be soon, and I think we need to look at them. Some have a pretty high local match and some don't, some are 20% match and some are 50%. If we can do this in conjunction with the city, I think it makes for a better working relationship. With most of the grants, if you do them with two or three entities applying, they score higher on the grant system, and that increases the chances of your getting a grant."

"Possibly by next month, we would like to entertain a recommendation to include the arts, from which we might get some grants through private foundations. A lot of those require no local match. In order to get them we would need an arts commission, possibly made up of visual and performing artists.

The commission voted to tear down the house beside the jail that the county recently purchased to clear for way for parking at the jail and the library.

Foster asked that the house not be torn down and taken to the landfill until the county receives a permit on the new cell at the landfill, because the existing cell is almost full. " If it's okay with you, I'd like for you to authorize us to tear it down, but I'd like to keep that much out of the landfill, if we can for a little while, because we are really holding our breath on this permit. We may be hauling garbage to some other county in the next 30 days if they (state) don't do something. We've been nineteen months waiting on a permit and it usually takes about a year or less."

County Commission Working Toward Establishing Building Code Regulations

October 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission has begun the process of formulating regulations for non-agricultural residential and commercial construction under the International Building Code.

The commission adopted three resolutions Monday night, as recommended by the county's building and safety committee, establishing general guidelines for construction, but specific regulations have not yet been established.

The first resolution adopted provides for "governing the condition and maintenance of all commercial property, buildings, and structures by providing standards for supplied utilities and facilities, and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary, and fit for occupation and use".

The second resolution speaks to the "the regulation and governing of construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, location removal, and demolition of one and two family dwellings, multiple single family dwellings, and town houses not more than three stories in height with separate means of egress."

The third resolution addresses the regulation and governing of the design, construction, quality of materials, erection, installation, alteration, repair, location, re-location, replacement, addition to, use and maintenance of plumbing systems.

Each resolution provides for the issuance of permits and collection of fees.

County Mayor Mike Foster says building code regulations are complex but the desire of the commission is to establish rules, under the International Building Codes, that are as "simple as we can make them, that are also legal and binding, to where we can get the desired effect of having construction that is safe, sanitary, and fit for occupation."

According to Foster, "We are experiencing several builders coming in here that are not used to building on these steep lots. Since I've been in office, several houses have either been built on the wrong lots or partially on the wrong lots. There's got to be some safety devices in place to take care of the innocent home owners."

"On these really steep lots, we need to be sure that the developers are building on a solid foundation so the houses don't slide off the hill'. We need to know where the lot lines are before they build a house and that they comply with codes. It's a safety thing for the homeowner."

Foster says the committee will meet again, probably on Thursday, November 1st to continue work on developing proposed regulations and local builders will be invited to attend future meetings to provide some input. He says it may take a couple of months before the committee's work is finished.

The committee's final recommendations will then be presented to the county commission for approval.

Once the regulations are in place, the county will have to hire someone to do the inspections. Building permits would be issued through the Assessor of Property's Office

Foster says "We can't be the guardians of the world, but I think a little bit of oversight is probably due."


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