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.

Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

2 Known Meth Distributors Arrested In Catoosa County

Two have been arrested in Catoosa County on drug charges.   Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted a traffic stop on Wednesday, at 7 p.m., on Highway 41 in Ringgold. During the stop, deputies seized two pounds of methamphetamine, which has an estimated street value of $30,000. Deputies arrested Jesus Humberto Lopez Deanda, 27, of Lilburn, Ga., and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Falls In State Volleyball Semis

SMYRNA, Tenn. – It’s a good thing that Signal Mountain volleyball coach Jennifer Redman is a young lady because her heart might not be able to stand the pressure if she wasn’t. Redman’s Lady Eagles were thisclose to being sent to the loser’s bracket in the opening round of the State Volleyball Tournament here at Stewarts Creek High School Wednesday afternoon. Had it been a ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Sweeps Loretto To Open Class A State Volleyball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Playing what coach Alfie Dodd called a sub-par match, Boyd-Buchanan’s Lady Bucs were still good enough to sweep Loretto, 3-0, Wednesday morning in the opening match of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class A state volleyball tournament at Blackman High School. Set scores were 25-19, 25-14, 25-20. “We advance and we know we can ... (click for more)