Disagreements Arise Over Proposed New Lake Forest Middle School

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - by Sarah Ruf

Bradley County commissioners wrestled with the possibility of promising projected surplus money in the future to a new Lake Forest Middle School building around 2017 during their work session on Monday afternoon.

After hearing a recommendation from an ad hoc committee to approve $14 million in the future for a new Lake Forest Middle School building, commissioners discussed options for fixing the troubled current site or building a new school.

The real question — where the money will come from to pay for any changes.

Some were wary of allocating funds so far into the future.

Commissioner Ed Elkins objected to “soft costs” outside of an actual building that were included in the $14 million estimate offered by the school board, such as new school furnishings.

“I don’t think it makes sense to borrow money over a 20-year period to replace things that shouldn’t be included in that debt,”he said.

“We are talking so far into the future, it’s really hypothetical,” said County Mayor D. Gary Davis. “If this money doesn’t come in, we are cutting it close.”

County Mayor Davis said funding for the project would not become available until 2016 at the earliest, solely based on revenue projections.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak Jones said the school board should tell the commission if cuts are possible at their end. “ I don’t think it’s the commission’s burden to handle alone,” she said.

Some commissioners wanted to move forward with a new building because repairs alone would cost around $6 million.

Commissioner Robert Rominger was one of them. “Something should be done without wasting money,” he said.

Commissioner Bill Winters, a former school board member, said the board was already making cuts and that a partnership with the commission would be ideal. “I think they want to know we do want this (school),” he said.

Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber reminded the commission his child recently attended the school: “It’s in dire straits.”

As the school stands now, water leaks into classrooms, the roof needs repair and there is not enough insulation between the interior and exterior walls, said Commissioner Adam Lowe.

Making painful cuts to services may be necessary to prioritize, he said.

But county departments are already operating on bare-bones budgets right now, Chairman Louie Alford said.

“I’ll never vote to cut any county department period,” he said with emotion.

“I’ll cut the devil out of anything,” Commissioner Lowe laughed.

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of eliminating the animal control contract with the city of Cleveland, offering a potential savings of more than $300,000.

Another option would be to just scale back on vehicle expenditures and base percentages only on animals while excluding calls to animal control.

Terry Caywood and Bill Ledford were not present. The commission will vote at their next session Monday, May 20, at noon.

You can reach Sarah Ruf at sarahruf@yahoo.com.

Soddy Daisy Getting New Fire Equipment

The Soddy Daisy fire department will be getting some new equipment. At the commission meeting Thursday night bids were approved for the purchase and installation of emergency lights for the new squad trucks.   Another bid for $12,705 was approved to buy skid units, which are tanks and pumps for the trucks. These allow the firefighters to work off-road, such as for extinguishing ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, GENE HUBERT  2502 OAK STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 58 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED S VIOLATION OF PROBATION (RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT) VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION OF DRUG PARHERN VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys - And Response (2)

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Pre-Fourth Observations

I hate to do this, right on the heels of my monthly ‘Walk in the Garden,’ but I have more things on my desk that I dare not leave unnoticed before tomorrow’s Star-Spangled celebration. Foremost is the plea to anyone who shoots off firecrackers to please wear eye protection and ask watchers to stand back. Our eye doctors say firecracker-related injuries have doubled in the last three ... (click for more)

Weather Prevails As Ridgeside, Red Bank Ends In A Draw

The Red Bank Gators and the Ridgeside Dolphins were supposed to swim each other for the second time in three days, but the overall winner was the weather man. The meet had not yet reached the midway point when lightning, thunder and heavy rain caused a delay with Ridgeside leading 165-156 following the medley relays. After a discussion with the respective pool reps, coaches ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Softball Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association has announced its all-state high school softball teams for 2015. Local selections include: AAA - Kayla Boseman (Fr), Ooltewah and Hallie Davis (Sr), Walker Valley; AA - Kaili Crawley (Fr) of Central; A - McKenna Morgan (Jr), Sale Creek; and, Division II-AA - Lauren Lewis (Sr), Kayla Hughes (Sr) and Cheyenne Lindsey (Fr) of Baylor.  ... (click for more)