Changes coming for driveway pipe installation


The Blount County Commission approved a major change to its own driveway pipe permit procedure during Monday’s meeting.

Effective Feb. 1, district crews will no longer install driveway pipe. Property owners will be required to install their own pipe and if the installation is found to be substandard, the county will replace the pipe and the contractor/landowner will be billed for the work and the pipe (within 30 days).

The action passed unanimously on a vote of 3-0 (Commissioner Dean Calvert was not in attendance as his district was experiencing icing problems that morning).

The action is expected to save the county approximately $100,000 per year, estimating $1,000 per pipe installation for the roughly 100 done by county crews each year.

County engineer Dustin Stewart reminds the public to apply through the commission for an access permit for new driveways on county roads.

In other business, the commission approved:

•separate resolutions to honor Robert E. Lee’s birthday and calling for Unity among all Blount Countians on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr – both fall on Monday,

Jan. 15. Commissioner Mike Painter expressed his opinion that the resolutions did nothing of substance and should not be considered but the resolutions passed by a 2-1 vote.

•approved Denney Armstrong as the District 1 appointment to the Solid Waste Authority. At-large appointee Paul Wilson is the only other active member of the board at this time. The other district appointments to the board could be considered at the commission’s February meeting.

•authorized the return of a 2009 Ford F-150 truck to the county maintenance department. The truck had been on loan to the Forestry Commission.

•approved installation of security cameras at the Blount County Animal Adoption Center at an approximate cost of $3,100. County administrator John Michael Bullard said that the county had been without an animal control officer for about a month and the cost of the cameras would be offset by using the unpaid salary from that position.

•approved quarterly budget amendments: District 1 – $209.30 (Blount County 911). District 2 – $792.66 (Progress Rail), $5,000 (town of Snead), $1,210.40 (town of Blountsville), $1,697.54 (Blount County Board of Education). District 3 – $1,112.27 (Progress Rail), $1,196 (Blount County 911), $343.64, $280.18, $382.21 (town of Highland Lake, Fund 111); $383.10, $329.01, $329.81 (Fund 117, Highland Lake). District 4 – $945.78 (Progress Rail), $123.24, $1,500, $341.65 (town of Locust Fork), $59.80 Blount County 911), $263.57 (town of Rosa, Fund 111), $280.20 (Rosa, Fund 117).

•approved the sale of a truck from the county engineering department to the town of Hayden for $5,000.

•approved three separate items concerning the use of county technology and equipment for the use of recording commission meetings and/or live streaming meetings on social media. Some of the equipment was donated by Joe Ray Dailey and allows for the installation of outlets by county maintenance staff that would allow media or members of the public to plug into audio/video feeds. Bullard was made the point of contact for those wishing to use the equipment/outlets and he will coordinate with maintenance supervisor William Blythe for installation of equipment and special requests.

•approved vehicle bids from All American Ford (truck) and Terry Sligh Automotive (SUV) for the revenue commissioner/ tax maintenance department.

The commission also approved a recommendation from Stewart for a funding request of $85,000 for preliminary engineering for the design of Dean’s Ferry Railroad Bridge . District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong told the commission that the request was significantly less than an earlier figure of $250,000 for the design. The total cost of the project is hard to estimate but Stewart feels confident that approximately $1 million has been reduced from the final cost.

Present at the Jan. 8 meeting were commissioners Nick Washburn, Painter and Armstong, Probate Judge/Commission Chairman Chris Green, Bullard, several county employees and members of the public.

The next commission work session is set for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 9 a.m. and the next meeting will follow on Monday, Feb. 12, at 9 a.m. Both will be held in the commission board room.