Tag Archives: Ron Woody

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

Planning Ahead for Roane County

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The county has recently taken some progressive steps in planning the county’s future. If one feels that nothing has been accomplished we understand, but below the surface, work has been going on, plans have been formulating, and execution of plans have taken place and/or are ready to take place. So, what plans are we talking about?

First, I think more of our county leadership recognizes that Roane County is not an industrial mecca. As an industrial agent recently said, “More than half of our proposals are put in the waste can because we are in a high wage, low unemployment area and new companies do not want to compete for the workforce.” The high wage, low unemployment is due to TVA, DOE, and related contractors. Slowly, a shift in thinking is taking place. What are our county’s assets? Great climate, a beautiful water system of rivers in Tennessee, Emory and Clinch, and friendly cities and communities. Maybe investments should be made in our recreation and tourism industries?

The county has been putting plans together for years for recreation and tourism development and as noted in last month’s newsletter, has hired master planners to complete the process. This year the county is eligible for a $250,000 recreation grant but we must match $250,000 local funds. The county does not have $250,000 but has taken the needed steps in the 2020 Budget to secure a large portion. Further, the county is applying for Tennessee RiverLine 652 project from the University of Tennessee. More details about this will be discussed in a future article.

The county is further working with Legacy Park Foundation and the National Park Service as the Manhattan Project Historical National Park is coming online in Roane County.

New trail systems, (both land and water), a National Park within Roane County, new courtesy boat docks on the reservoir, enhancements to Riley Creek Campground, and other recreation assets are helping Roane County lay the foundation for a vacation, recreation, and tourism destination.

More to come…

Path Forward for Education

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

As most everyone knows, the Roane County Commission in mid- February voted against funding the current school improvement plan. The vote for was two (2) for, eleven (11) against, with two passing. Now the question is, are we back to the drawing board? The Roane County School Board and the Commission met in a work session the end of February to discuss the issues of why there is limited support. My observation from the meeting focused on a few broad issues of why there is limited support:

1) Optimal Location
2) 
Importance of Community Schools
3) Increase Taxes
4) New Commissioners who have limited knowledge of the proposal plan

So where are we going? My office informed the school board of what we would propose as a path forward for the 2020 budget. First, a three (3) cent property tax is required for the Oliver Springs/ Midway project which has already been approved. I will propose to the Budget Committee an additional seven (7) cents in order to accumulate funds for debt service in order to help cash flow interest and principal payments. Since the school board is anticipating a successful financial year, I would recommend the school board transfer funds to their capital project fund to pay for some initial expenditures.

If approved, the County Commission shows a good faith effort to improve education. The school board shows support by putting their own investment into the capital project. We recognize that the ten (10) cent total is not enough and we would give options to the commissioners to increase their investment if they feel they have the support. Remember, the 2019 Budget gave the commissioners the opportunity to adjust the taxes if they supported the education improvement plan and no none made a motion to increase the funding.  This year a step in the right direction is being proposed by the Roane County’s Executive Office.

The math problem is simple. Currently, the 74 million dollar project has an estimated annual payment of 4.5 million dollars which requires approximately thirty-six (36) cents of property tax. The county has no current funds available to apply to the annual payment. A ten cent tax starts the accumulation of 1.3 million dollars of funds. In two years, approximately 2 million dollars of old debt will be paid off, and the current tax rate could be applied to the annual payment. The ten (10) cents plus the debt that pays off (sixteen (16) cents) is not enough for the present project, but the combined funds is a step in the right direction. Also, going forward we anticipate the successful rebuild of Oliver Springs High School. The small steps of success should help meet the educational needs of our students. We will wait and see what is approved for the 2020 budget.

A Partial View to DOE Activities – Feb 2019

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

In 1991, an agreement was reached between the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE) known as the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA). The purpose of the agreement was to:

  • Ensure that the environmental impacts associated with past and present activities at the [DOE] Site are thoroughly investigated and that appropriate remedial action is taken as necessary to protect the public health and welfare and the environment
  • Establish a procedural framework and schedule for developing, implementing, and monitoring appropriate response actions at the Site in accordance with Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability (CERCLA), the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution (NCP), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), appropriate guidance and policy, and in accordance with Tennessee State law;
  • Prevent, mitigate, or abate releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from low-level radioactive waste tank systems under this Agreement prior to final remedial action at the [DOE] Site;
  • Facilitate cooperation, exchange of information, and participation of the Parties; • Minimize the duplication of investigative and analytical work and documentation and ensure the quality of data management;
  • Ensure that remedial action(s) at the [DOE] Site will be in compliance with applicable or relevant and identify appropriate requirements.
  • Expedite response actions with a minimum of delay; establish a basis for a determination that the DOE has completed the remedial investigation or feasibility study(s), remedial design(s), and remedial action(s) at the Site pursuant to CERCLA and applicable Tennessee State laws;
  • Coordinate response actions under CERCLA and this Agreement with RCRA Facility Investigations and corrective measures now being conducted under RCRA and applicable State laws;
  • Ensure that all releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants as defined by CERCLA and all releases of hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents as defined by RCRA are addressed so as to achieve comprehensive remediation of the Site.” (Federal Facility Agreement, 1991)

To reflect as “an extension” of the FFA, there was, subsequently, created a regulatory contract called the Tennessee Oversight Agreement (TOA) which was accepted and signed in 2011 (TOA, pg. 1). This agreement was between DOE and the State of Tennessee and was later broken down into three separate agreements. The details of those agreements will be addressed in another article at a later date. Presently, we will address the details surrounding the funding of the Oak Ridge Reservation Communities Alliance (ORRCA). ORRCA was established to educate the elected officials and general public on the environmental clean-up activities of DOE, as well as, emergency preparedness programs. The ORRCA website www.orrcatn.com hosts a wealth of information that assists elected officials and the citizens within the adversely affected communities in understanding the specifics of the environmental clean-up processes and progress. ORRCA also strives to educate elected officials to make more informed decisions for their community.

Reviewing Priorities and Adjusting – Feb 2019

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

In our last newsletter, we discussed the planning steps of putting together the 2020 Budget. During this past month, we checked off the first step by reviewing with our departments their 2019 capital plans and budgets and worked with the budget committee on a few adjustments. This important process allows the departments to review priorities and make needed adjustments which then sets a clean tablet for the 2020 capital budget and the following 19 years. Our department heads and commission understands the importance of reviewing your goals and objectives and making the needed changes.

One of the most significant changes was the realization that the county recreation master plan probably needs updating. As we reviewed the recreation capital plan, we asked the question, “When was the last masterplan?” The plan exceeded 15 years. Thus it had been 15 years since the general public had an opportunity to make formal comments on the county recreation plan. The recreation plan includes current and potential recreation services for Roane County Residents and the county tourism industry. Since the last plan the county has taken over a TVA campground (Riley Creek), leased and built the Swan Pond Sports Complex, and the State Department of Transportation has built a multi-use crossing that connects the Roane State Community College Expo Center and Walking Trails to a potential walking trail, horse trail, or campsites at the Old Caney Creek campground area of 60 acres. Keep up with the formal recreation planning process in our future newsletters as the county recreation advisory board, and park and recreation committee begins their work.

Earl Duff Subaru & ASPCA’s 5th Annual Santa Paws – Jan 2019

{Stacey McElhaney, Director Roane County Animal Shelter}

The 5th Annual Santa Paws was a holiday success thanks to Earl Duff Subaru, the ASPCA, the Roane County Animal Shelter Staff, Planned Pethood, Santa, and lots of amazing volunteers. Four cats and fourteen dogs met their new families. Thanks to the ASPCA grant All adoptable pets were spayed, neutered, and rabies vaccinated allowing the Animal Shelter to waive all fees. Pet owners paid $5 to get their pet’s photo taken with Santa. There were raffles, door prizes and by the end of the day, they raised $850.

Left to Right Top to Bottom: Jamie Kindard, Amber Cofer, Connie Aytes, Ron Woody, Jack Jinks, Stacey McElhaney, Santa Claus –  Earl Duff Subaru & ASPCA’s 5th Annual Santa Paws – Jan 2019

 

November Was Another Busy Month for County Government – Dec 2018

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

The first week of the month had many County Commissioners at the Roane Alliance Gala. The Roane Alliance is the county’s economic development organization. This year’s Gala was once again well attended and supported by our local business and city governments. The Alliance was established in 2001 and has been led by four CEOs over the years. The Alliance is once again in search of a new leader as Wade Creswell has taken a position at Oak Ridge National Lab. Best wishes to Wade and thank you for your public service. The second week the commissioners honored a group of eight new Roane County Treasures. Roane County Treasures is a program started in 2007 that honors men and women who lived and contributed to the betterment of Roane County. A list of Treasures can be found on a plaque on the first floor of the Courthouse.

In the third week, County Commissioner Charlotte Bowers and Executive Ron Woody joined Oak Ridge Representatives at an intergovernmental meeting. They met with the Department of Energy (Oak Ridge Office and Washington DC Office), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and State Legislators to discuss the environmental clean up of the Oak Ridge Reservation and the challenges of cleaning the legacy DOE site.

The commission met the fourth week of November to approve a significant resolution that starts capital improvements for our county schools. For the first time in eight years, the county approved issuing debt. The debt may only be issued for large projects, and school building project qualifies as a large project wherein 7.1 Million in bonds were approved. We anticipate construction will start on the Oliver Springs Middle School conversion to a Middle and High School will begin in late Spring early Summer. This project is estimated over 5 million and another one million was approved for a new sewer plant to service the Midway elementary, middle and high schools. Part of the bond’s proceeds will be shared with the Oak Ridge School system for their county projects.

The County Commission further discussed possible legislation regarding the TVA ash spill at the County Commission meeting. More to come on these issues as a special meeting will be held on December 4th. The commissioner’s plates are full with the TVA Kingston ash spill issues, potential jail construction, and further capital education improvements. Stay tuned.

Roane County Legislative Body is Changing – Sept 2018

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

Roane County Legislative Body is Changing: Seven new commissioners will join eight incumbent commissioners to lead our county for the next four years and beyond. We are also welcoming a new Trustee, and County Clerk. A profile of the incoming commissioners and new officials will be in the October Roane County Newsletter. Upon initial review, the freshmen commissioners lower the average age of the Commission. We anticipate a fresh perspective and vision for our community. Our new Commissioners have recently attended County Officials Orientation Program through the University of Tennessee to help their understanding of government functions and operations. A county orientation will be presented to our new and existing Commissioners. The public is invited to the orientation on September 6th at 6pm. The presentation will be available on RoaneCountyTN.gov under the County Executive’s Summaries under the Executive Summary 61. The orientation will address the function of government, responsibilities, and the authority of the legislative body, challenges, and opportunities for the future.

Roane County Planning Commission Looks at a New High School site location: County Executive Ron Woody formally requested the Roane County Planning Commission to use all available planning tools such as census data, traffic patterns, growth patterns, utility availability, and any other pertinent tools for planning in order to ensure the most optimal location for a potential Roane County investment. (County Executive Letter to the Planning Commission 7.31.18)

Accounting Department Update – Aug 2018

{Connie Aytes – Director of Accounts and Budgets}

2019 Budget: Now that the budget has been passed our office is working hard to make sure that we have all the accounts properly budgeted before we roll the budget to the new year. We are hoping to have the budget books completed by the first week in August. Once those are completed, we will post the budget to the website and distributed to the Commissioners.

Capital, Debt, Popular Annual Financial Reports & Operational Statement: Our office is responsible for the completion of the Capital and Debt Reports and the Operational Statement. Those reports are in the process of being completed. Once we get those completed, they will be uploaded to our website. This year we are going to attempt to produce a “Popular Annual Financial Report” (PAFR). This report will summarize the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2018. This report should be completed by October of this year. Fiscal Year Ending: Our Fiscal Year Ending June 30th is almost completed, and our new year July 1st has an approved budget with NO tax increase. I want to take this time to thank all of my Accounting Staff for their hard work and dedication to complete our year under budget. We will not know the final results of our Fiscal year until next March, but all accounts are looking great.

Student Volunteer Program: For the past few weeks, our office and the office of the County Executive have teamed up with Tennessee Scholar Volunteer allowing high school students to complete their required community service hours. We had the pleasure of having Marisa Klein as our first volunteer this year to come work at our office. The duties she performed was, filing invoices both current and prior year and keying in budget figures into excel worksheets for our budget books. Marisa is pictured below receiving her certificate along with myself and Ron Woody.

Connie Aytes, Marisa Klein, and Ron Woody

Budgets, School Building Program, Elections – Another Busy Summer – June 2018

{Ron Woody, Roane County Executive}

2019 Budget: The Budget Committee has just about wrapped up the 2019 Budget. Final work should be concluded with the Budge Committee and Public Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at 6:30 pm. The committee has reviewed and has recommended all county budgets.
The Highway Fund has a 5% raise scheduled for all their employees with all other funds having a 2% raise. The Highway Fund has a new state gasoline tax revenue. The other funds are suffering from the lack of revenue growth prohibiting a greater raise.
The General Fund which includes the Sheriff Department and Jail operations continue to create budget challenges due to jail overcrowding, which increases inmate medical care, housing cost, and staffing over time.

The School Building Program continues to receive the most attention, and it appears that additional research and study is needed to ensure that the potential largest County investment ever, which will not only be a large dollar investment but also be an investment that will be used for at least five decades. Much research and analysis should be made for the County’s future.
We have published a number of articles on the county website that we hope are thought provoking. Please take time to review these articles on our websites publication page and under the heading Education Capital Projects. Also, on the county homepage under special announcements, you can find two school presentations.

Election Time: Roane County will most definitely see a few new elected leaders as our Trustee and County Court Clerk has chosen to retire (a future newsletter shall address their faithful service). Two officials are unopposed, Sheriff Jack Stockton and Circuit/Sessions Clerk Ann Goldston. A number of Commissioners are also choosing not to run. It will be a busy “hot summer.” Please get out and Vote!