In an effort to help the Youth Soccer League, the DeKalb County Commission Monday night voted to have a committee approach officials of Shiroki North America about the county leasing the industry's soccer field for the fall season.
County Mayor Mike Foster says if a deal can be worked out with Shiroki for perhaps one year, then the Youth Soccer League could have more time to prepare their own fields for the following season. "Youth Soccer League is trying to build new fields at Northside Elementary School. They have them disked but as everybody who farms knows, you've got to sow grass in the fall to have grass later. If they were to sow this fall and play on it, it would destroy that grass."
"We would like to approach Shiroki North America and ask about us, as a county, leasing their soccer field. The big thing they (Shiroki) were concerned about is the liability insurance. If we have it under lease, I think we would be able to insure it under our liability policy. I would like for you (county commission) to authorize a committee to talk to them about maybe entering into a one year lease to give the new property (Northside) time to grow."
In recent years, Shiroki has allowed the league to use the field, but as Second District Commissioner Jack Barton explained, current economic conditions intervened this year. "Due to economic conditions, mowing, liability, and having to have a guard there during the games, they (Shiroki) chose to not allow them (Youth Soccer League) to use the fields during the spring season and if somebody doesn't step up because of the field not being ready next to Northside, they're going to lose their fall season too. There's nearly 300 children who play in that league every spring and every fall. That's a lot of parents and a lot of kids."
"If we could come up with some agreement to try and take the liability off of it, the youth league, just like tee ball and little league (on their fields), would have to maintain that field during the time the county allowed them to use it, but this all needs to be approved through Shiroki."
Barton made a motion that a small committee be appointed " to see what it would take to make this happen. I don't think it would be a lot of dollar amount as long as we're not committing to a long term thing. I think Shiroki wants to help us over the hump."
The county will seek a one year lease or whatever term they can agree too with Shiroki. Under the agreement, the county would agree to cover the liability on that field, rather than Shiroki and an agreement would be sought with the Youth Soccer League board to have them keep the property mowed and possibly have a security guard there.
Also on Monday night, the county commission voted to seek approval from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to install caution lights at the intersection of Highway 83 and U.S. 70 (near Kilgore's Restaurant) because that area is considered to be a dangerous intersection.
County Mayor Foster says the plan will also include putting down rippled strips on the north and south side of Highway 83 to slow traffic approaching the intersection with U.S. 70 and the installation of street lights at the intersections of Highway 70 and Hurricane Ridge Road and Highway 70 and Dry Creek Road at Dowelltown. "We've got to get a plan together and send it to TDOT for approval and depending upon what the cost is, we may have to bid the project. We've talked about just putting some signs (caution lights) on the side of the road. We can do that on any two lane road but if it's three or more lanes it's got to be an overhead (light). We can't put caution lights on Highway 70 because it's five lanes. Those would have to be overhead. But the ones (lights) on Highway 83 could be on a pole on the side of the road. We could run an underground service to them."
"Those little ripples come in two foot sections and they are $10.85 per section. They can be glued down with epoxy. About six runs of those strips could be put down which makes that rippling sound as you cross it. That's not a major cost and I don't think the lights on the poles will be a lot of cost but if they go overhead then there's more expense and we may have to bid it. "
"This also has to be approved by TDOT but we want to put a security light at Hurricane Ridge Road at Highway 70 just to light the entrance because it's dark and also at Dry Creek Road and Highway 70 near Dowelltown. We have to present a plan. The only plan there is to put in security lights to light the intersections. That five lane road really makes it dark in those areas."
The county commission voted to authorize a plan to submit to TDOT for approval.
Meanwhile, Foster talked about how the rainy weather we've had this year has affected the amount of leachate being created at the landfill, especially where the new cell is being developed. Truck loads of leachate are hauled away from the landfill each week and disposed of after being treated by the city, under an agreement with the county. "This is probably the wettest year we've had in fifteen years. You look at the rainfall and it parallels the amount of leachate that they're hauling. It is one of the additional expenses of building a (landfill) cell. Before, some months we wouldn't haul but three loads or ten loads. Now we've got four extra acres with a hole in the ground and there's no possible way, when it (rain water) hits in there, it's got to go out. Some people around town think it's something out of the ordinary, but I've talked to White County, Clay County, Cumberland, and Smith and all of them are in the same boat. It's a lot of loads and until that cell is full of garbage, it (leachate) will probably continue, but once the garbage gets in there, it soaks it up and makes it come through a lot slower. Until that cell is done, we may have to dig another pond with an overflow. The water that's coming out of there, according to the sample, is almost good enough to spray on fields for irrigation. But it's got just a little bit of organic matter in it."
The county borrowed money on a three year note to develop the new landfill cell and Foster says that will be paid off soon. "The money that we borrowed when we first applied for this expansion was three years ago and by law that has to be spent in three years. The first two years we didn't have a (landfill) permit approved so that money was staying in there and since we had borrowed it at considerably less than we were getting, we were making money on it being in the bank. All of it but about $236,000 has been spent and it has been transferred to fund balance and whenever all the bills come in for that cell that's being built, you'll (county commission) will be asked to transfer that. We had to put it in fund balance, by law. It will be brought back in later to pay for the finish of that cell."
Foster says landfills, because of all the liability and regulations, are difficult for counties to deal with and he would like to see the county take another approach in disposing of it's garbage in the future." We would like, at some point in time, to see that landfill changed into a transfer station, simply because of the long term liability, because they (landfills) have to be maintained for 30 years (even after they're closed). That would be up to you (commission) to approve but ideally four or five years from now, which is the life of this cell that just opened, I would like to see us go into a transfer station where we bring the garbage in and transfer it onto a trailer and send it to another county that wants to be in the landfill business. Because exposure to liability in maintaining that for 30 years seems to me to be too great."