2020 Budget and Their Projects

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The Budget Committee continues to deliberate, and various funds have been completed with recommendations to the Commission. The Commission will not see the entire budget until late June or early July. However, the Budget Committee work indicates a new previously discussed property tax increase related to the cost of interest and principal payment for the Oliver Springs School project ($7.1 million) along with the road damage due to the recent flooding ($10 million). The committee has also recommended a one (1) penny increase to help the Volunteer Fire Departments. Keep an eye out for a series of articles in the Roane County News regarding the operations and budgets of various County Funds/Companies.

In other news, Roane County has applied to be a Pilot community for the Tennessee RiverLine 652 project. We hope to hear news about this project in Mid-May. We anticipate the County Commission approving a Tourism Grant request that could help open up the old Caney Creek Campground if we are awarded the grant.

The County Jail Study Committee is patiently waiting for an update report on the estimated cost. Various officials met the past month with a consulting party who is evaluating Roane County as a grant applicant on a pretrial diversion grant.

The County Park and Recreation Master Planning is continuing with anticipation of a survey being available in May.

Roane County Applied to Be a Pilot Community for the Tennessee RiverLine 652 Project Grant

{Mike Beard, Director of Roane County Parks and Recreation}

The Tennessee RiverLine is a vision for a continuous system of hiking, biking, and on-water experiences along the 652-mile reach of the Tennessee River from Knoxville, TN, to Paducah, KY.  The system will serve as a catalyst for economic, social and environmental impact in the four states and dozens of cities, towns and rural communities along the Tennessee River, as well as the more than 4.5 million residents who call the Tennessee River Valley home.  Beyond recreational, environmental and economic potential, the project embodies the spirit of innovation and regional collaboration that is our legacy in the Tennessee River Valley.

A Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community is a community with immediate or proximate physical access to the main stem of the Tennessee River’s 652-mile reach as well as its major coves and embayments.  We seek participation from a diversity of communities: large and small, urban and rural, those with established river access programs and those who need help getting started. All are strongly encouraged to apply and will be given equal consideration.

An excerpt from our Pilot Community Application….

It is our belief that Roane County already has the raw material needed to become an outdoor adventure lover’s dream. Home to 43 miles of the Tennessee River, Roane County is already positioned to become a destination for TN RiverLine enthusiasts as they explore all of Watts Bar Lake via canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and other watercraft. Our vision is to see Kingston and Rockwood become to the RiverLine what Hot Springs, NC is to Appalachian Trail hikers. We envision busy downtowns…

To learn more contact Jamie Kinard, Mike Beard or Ron Woody info@roanecountytn.gov

Legacy Parks Announces Oak Ridge Natural Assets Plan

Knoxville, Tenn. – Legacy Parks Foundation has announced a collaborative conservation project encompassing Oak Ridge, Roane County, and Anderson County that will create a Natural Assets Plan for Oak Ridge and the surrounding areas by exploring both recreational opportunities and enhancement of the area’s natural assets. A grant from UCOR, UT-Battelle, CNS/Y-12, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities to Legacy Parks will fund the initiative. Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation and Legacy Parks Board Member, Don Parnell, will coordinate the team from Ackerman Marketing & PR, Ross/Fowler Landscape Architects, and Equinox Environmental. 

Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks Foundation, welcoming County Executive, Ron Woody, at the Legacy Park Kick-Off

Checks presented from CNS, UCOR, ORAU, & ORNL

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

{Corinne Shaw, Community Impact Coordinator}

Businesses and their employees in Roane County have an opportunity to create positive community changes. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is synonymous with corporate citizenship and is an ethic strategy incorporated into a business model to create a social and environmental impact on the community. The positive public relations gained by corporate social responsibility increases the trust of investors, develops long-term relations, and boosts the public image of a business. In order for a business to remain relevant and competitive in today’s society, it is suggested that the CSR of business be seen by investors, consumers, employees and the community.         


How Can a Business Show Corporate Social Responsibility? Running a United Way campaign once a year can allow employees to donate funds and give to causes close to their hearts through payroll giving. A business, giving matching corporate donations, shows employees that the business aligns their social outlook with that of their employees and cares about the community in which their employees reside. It is known, that employees are more committed to businesses that show a high quality of citizenship.  Many employees and their families may benefit from the services provided by Partner organizations of the Roane County United Way. These services promote education, health, and financial stability, which makes employees happier, healthier, more productive and more reliable.

Businesses Can Have a Powerful Role in Community Change. The intellectual and physical involvement of a business can also drive change in the community. Your education, knowledge, and skills are valuable assets to non-profit organizations. Volunteering intellectual abilities and helping on charity boards or volunteering a skill set that helps the charity remain current with technology or business practices is a great way to build community connections. Providing a physical presence at events, as a volunteer and allowing employees to participate in volunteering, shows the members of the community that the business as a caring participant of that community.
The power to make a lasting, positive change is the heart of Corporate Social Responsibility. Having employees volunteer in the community can also have a positive impact on your business’s culture. Employees are rewarded with a sense of well-being, community connection, increased social skills, and new friendships when they get involved in community projects. When Employees share their volunteering experiences with co-workers, it fosters a giving culture within the business environment. With a good CSR strategy, a business can drive new ideas and positive social integrations which shape the community.

Roane County Environmental Review Board 

{by Mary Anne Koltowich}

Our Roane County Environmental Review Board (RCERB) was established in 1989 by Roane County Commission Resolution #1975. Under Resolution #03-11-12 purpose/responsibilities of this Board was clarified as “WHEREAS it is helpful to have a committee of qualified individuals to serve as an advisory group to study matters referred to it by the County Executive and the County Commissions, having the power only to make recommendations to the County Executive and the County Commissions after studying said matters.” The RCERB is authorized by the County Commission to be comprised of “five (5) to seven (7) general members and one (1) to two (2) student members, which shall be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Commission”. Currently, the RCERB has seven (7) appointed volunteer general members and no student members. In addition, a representative from the County Executive and a representative from the County Commission interface with the RCERB. Its appointed volunteer members represent a broad professional knowledge experience base of technical and scientific knowledge, education, skills, and hands-on experience in a cross-section of environmental fields. This broad professional knowledge experience base covers the Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation activities, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operations, aquatic ecology, remediation projects, hazardous/radioactive waste management, and chemistry – just to name a few.

The RCERB strives to maintain an awareness of environmental activities that affect or can affect Roane County. Some of the most intensive topics that members have been actively studying for the benefit of the Commission in order to provide recommendations include:

  1. A new DOE new hazardous waste landfill named the Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF) has been proposed that would house materials from the demolition and remediation of multiple contaminated Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) structures/facilities. There is a formal dispute over this facility’s design and operational basis between DOE, the Tennessee Department of Conservation (TDEC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The dispute primarily concerns protective measures in order to prevent the release of contaminated waters from the landfill directly into the Bear Creek watershed (surface and groundwaters). There is a related on-going contaminated wastewater discharge problem with the current landfill, named the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF), which has almost reached its capacity. 
  2. A mercury discharge into East Fork Poplar Creek that occurred at the DOE Y-12 facility in June 2018 which resulted in a large fish kill and continued over an extended (multi-month) period. Recent documentation indicates that fines for violation of groundwater quality regulations may be forthcoming as a result of this mercury release. This release is also related to the new proposed EMDF landfill where mercury-contaminated waste would be placed. There is increased concern over the proper handling of the mercury contamination constituent to prevent the creation of a potential new contamination source for releases into the Bear Creek watershed.
  3. The TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Ash Spill has been the recent subject of legal action by site workers. Now there are concerns about the possibility of fly ash being present in and around the Swan Pond Sports Complex. The RCERB has been working with TDEC staff to develop and implement a sampling plan to test soils at multiple locations to determine if the fields and walking trails are safe for our community members and county workers.
  4. Non-native invasive aquatic plants are proliferating in Watts Bar Reservoir, along with several of the TVA river reservoirs. The County Commission named an Aquatic Weeds Committee that requested that a stakeholders group be formed to study the problem, research other affected relative bodies of water, acquire lessons learned from others with the same problem, and provide a report containing the needed information, research efforts, & recommendations as to how to proceed to address the problem. As a result, the Watts Bar Ecology and Fishery Council (WBEFC) was formed as a 501.c(3) non-profit organization a couple of years ago. A couple of RCERB members are also members of the WBEFC. The subject report was formally submitted to the Roane County Commission during its March 2019 meeting. The WBEFC is awaiting notification from the Commission as to a meeting to discuss this report. The WBEFC is also and just as importantly focusing efforts on preventing the migration of Silver (jumping) Asian Carp into the Chickamauga and Watts Bar Reservoirs.
  5. The TVA Kingston Fossil Plan Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) was extensively reviewed with comments provided in relation to the expansion of the now used landfill to dispose of and store fly ash, bottom ash, and gypsum generated by the burning of coal.
  6. TDEC performed surface water sampling of creeks around Tiger Haven to determine the presence (or lack thereof) of e. coli bacteria that could affect the health of nearby citizens. Sampling has concluded, and a report from TDEC is in progress.
  7. The American Zinc Corporation (AMZ) has had a draft Title V permit in review with TDEC for the last few years. There has been a Public Meeting in the past with another one planned in April. The RCERB reviewed the recent permit update and provided recommendations to the County Commission. The Commission has accepted and forwarded the identified permit concerns to TDEC.
  8. TVA’s draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of almost 700 pages was reviewed with comments provided back to TVA and copied to the Commission. The IRP and EIS explore various strategies and scenarios about how TVA plans to meet the power demands of the future and to remain stewards of the environment.
  9. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released plans related to permitting TVA to build and operate Small Modular Reactors (SMR) at the Clinch River site (previously the old “nuclear breeder site”). Plans are to build one or more 150-Mw nuclear reactor power plants to generate electricity. The NRC has approved an early site permit that allows investigation and preliminary design.

Each member of the RCERB expends many hundreds of hours on studying topics, performing online research, reading subject-related procedures/permits/regulations, attending public meetings to gather firsthand information, documenting feedback for public comment requests, and more each year. These services come at no cost to the taxpayers of the county and have saved taxpayers millions of dollars during the RCERB’s years of existence as a result of not having to hire outside consultants or establish a full-time staff to perform this work effort. In fact, RCERB input is now actively being sought by other outside area environmental groups and by state regulatory agencies. In the interest of public safety and environmental protection, the RCERB provides a very valuable function to Roane county government and its citizens. RCERB meetings are held monthly, open to the public, and public comments are welcomed.

TN Department of Environment & Conservation Grant

The placement of the above sign brings Roane County one step closer to the completion of the TN Department of Environment and Conservation funded grant project. This Emory, Clinch and Watts Bar Watersheds Habitat and Recreation Restoration Grant project totaled $457,000.00 to provide Roane County with accessible public docks, kayak launches, a boat slip, and land stabilization. Full story to come as the project is set to close in the next few months. (Pictured right: Ron Woody & Josh Lentz hanging a new sign at the Little Emory boat launch.)

Ron Woody & Josh Lentz

Highway Department

{Brian Matthews}

We always say we are blessed to work at the Roane County Highway Department, but as in any occupation, some months are better than others. One thing that will always make a month great is when we can visit a classroom of students during transportation week to talk about what we do, give them some gifts, and hopefully make some memories. We want to thank the Midtown Education Center for having us during transportation week. Last month, we also said bye to Christian Moore as he leaves us to go and work in Oak Ridge. Christian has worked with us during his time at Roane State, an Internship, and Tennessee Tech. Christian’s younger brother, Gabe, works for us while he is attending Roane State. We also attended the annual TDOT Litter Grant training where we learned about the future of the “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” campaign and what the future of it looks like. As always, if we can help you out let us know by calling 865.882.9782.

Christian Moore and Dennis Ferguson, Road Superintendent

Peterbilt Roll-Off Truck & Hazardous Waste Day 2019

The Department of Solid Waste and Recycling purchased a 2020 Peterbilt roll-off truck for $175,682.00. Part of the funds used to purchase this roll-of truck came from revenue from materials that were recycled in the department. The truck is being used for transporting recyclables from the Convenience Centers to the Recycling Center for processing. 

Do not forget about Roane County Household Hazardous Waste Day on Saturday, May 11th from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. located at 215 White Pine Rd, Harriman 37748. This one-day event is FREE and SAFE way to rid your home of household hazardous materials.)

Ralph Stewart, Director of Solid Waste/Recycling and Ron Woody, County Executive with the new Peterbilt roll off truck

Roane County Recycling Center

 

ADA Transition Plan

{Glen Cofer, ADA Coordinator}

We are currently working on consolidating our data from the Self-Evaluation. This will be compiled in our Transition Plan.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to monitor sub-recipients who receive TDOT assistance (local governments, contractors, consultants or groups) to ensure compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 with respect to TDOT funded (both Federal and State assistance) projects and programs. 28 CFR 35.130(b)(1)(v) and 49CFR27.7(V)

In 2010, at the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, all federal agencies recommitted to enforcing the ADA, so they are now withholding federal grants and federal funding from agencies who have not completed this important process. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 lends further protection of the basis established by Section 504 by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities regardless of whether they receive federal financial assistance. Title II of the Act specifically applies to state and local government services and the programs and activities they administer, including items built before and after 1990.

Deadline for completion of the Transition Plan is November 2019

NACo Features Commissioner Ron Berry

The National Association of Counties (NACo) represents county governments in the United States and improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing solutions through education and research, and provides services to save counties and taxpayers money. NACo represents 3,069 counties and chose to feature Commissioner Ron Berry to give members an opportunity to learn more about its members from across the country. To read Commissioner Berry’s profile go to:
https://www.naco.org/sites/default/files/documents/CN_04152019_LO_72.pdf  (pg. 22)