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Blockhouse Valley Landfill pollution raises concern

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank talks to Law Direc tor Jay Yeager after an Anderson County Commission meeting. - Ben Pounds

A recent report on the closed Blockhouse Valley Landfill showed some concern with specific pollution types in water nearby. Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager discussed the report from contractor Arcadis with the County Commission at its May 20 meeting. The full report is in that meeting’s agenda. Arcadis works with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which approved the report. The closed landfill is at 1480 Blockhouse Valley Road. Yeager said Arcadis reported “elevated levels of benzene and manganese.” The studies observed benzene in springs, while the manganese was in groundwater, meaning water that’s in gaps between rocks or soil. Yeager said earlier in May that a tree had fallen on the overflow culvert in Godwin Pond, which filters surface and subsurface water in the area. However, he said TDEC had told him things were going well. “TDEC informed us that our numbers were very good in Godwin Pond,” he said. “There was no problem with some of that leaking out.” People with Arcadis, he said, were on site the afternoon it happened and would fix the problem “post haste.” In an email, sent June 6, Yeager said that workers had by that time cleared the trees at Godwin Pond and temporarily repaired leaks there.

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Eyeglass World opens at former mall site

Pictured are, from left, Oak Ridge Eyeglass World’s Jamie Beverwyk, lab man- ager; Amber Park, assistant general manager; Eric Phipps, general manager; and Audrey Lopez, sales representative. - Ben Pounds

With the opening of Eyeglass World in May, Main Street Oak Ridge has filled all its vacant property spaces, save three. Main Street Oak Ridge is a shopping center that took over for the previous indoor Oak Ridge Mall, much of which had sat empty in its later years. The company RealtyLink manages the property. The Courier News contacted that company, but they were unavailable for comment by press time. The three spaces are between JC Penney and the American Museum of Science and Energy and are in a building that predates the Main Street Oak Ridge development and even the Mall. The city of Oak Ridge had been considering that space for a convention center. However, it’s now working on that project as a renovation to part of Oak Ridge Recreation Center. In the meantime, Eyeglass World has taken the space at 141 Main Street East, opening May 3. It’s between JCPenney and Old Navy. General Manager Eric Phipps said business had been steady for the first month. The store, part of a national franchise, sells glasses, sunglasses and contacts. It also leases space in the back to optometrist Sharon Mae Meikle who does eye exams. Phipps said the sunglasses were particularly popular in summer. “I like helping people and helping my patients,” said Phipps when asked about what attracted him to his type of business. “We’re here to serve the community of Oak Ridge and we’re here to help them in any way we can.”

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No tax increase

There will be no property tax increase in the new Rocky Top budget for fiscal year 2024-25, which takes effect July 1, according to the budget ordinance passed recently on final reading and amended last week by the City Council. Also, work has begun on a $5.45 million sewer system upgrade, which will cause residents some inconveniences until the work is completed, including traffic-flow problems as streets are shut down or restricted while sewer lines are laid. In the first of the planned weekly progress meetings with city officials last Friday, the sewer project administrators outlined the plans and provided a projeced completion date of April 26, 2025, for the expected 330-day duration of the work. For the new fiscal year, the Rocky Top property tax rate will remain $2 per $100 of assessed property value, the same rate in place for fiscal year 2023-24, which ends June 30. In the new budget, the city plans $2.324 million in general-fund expenditures for the year, against expected revenue collections of $2.207 million. The city will spend $5.799 million for sewer and water operations in the new fiscal year against expected operating revenues of $1.472 million plus grant funding.

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Norris OKs budget and social media policy

Norris residents will pay a property tax of $1.5439 per $100 of assessed value in the fiscal year beginning July 1, the same rate as the current year, in the budget passed on final reading by the City Council on Monday night. The council also narrowly approved a social media policy aimed at managing city accounts on sites such as Facebook. The operating budget – which does not include water and sewer – calls for spending $2.47 million during the 2024-25 fiscal year against projected revenues of $2.07 million. The spending includes capital expenditures that would be offset by grant money. Total local tax revenues are projected to be $1.2 million, including $708,000 in real property tax collections, and $78,000 in personal property taxes. Other money for the budget will come from “intergovernmental revenue” of $497,205, $182,556 in charges for administrative services, $14,250 from licenses and permits, $2,650 from fines and penalties, and $169,450 in miscellaneous revenue, which includes such items as interest income ($75,000) and cell tower rent ($29,000). Water works expenses (water and sewer) are expected to total $3.4 million against revenues of $3.24 million. This does not include capital projects and debt-service principal payments. The interest revenue comes from the city’s move this past year to put its cash into interest-bearing bank accounts, rather than the past practice of having millions of dollars sitting in accounts while earning no interest.

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No tax increase  Read More

Blockhouse Valley Landfill pollution raises concern  Read More

Norris OKs budget and social media policy  Read More

Judge Hunt returns, temp judge Elrod reflects  Read More


To the Editor  Read More

To the Editor  Read More

To the Editor  Read More


Summer games  Read More

Bulls have busy week on the diamond  Read More

Seivers on 2025 College Football Hall of Fame ballot  Read More

Moody, Laster lead the pack in distance running  Read More

Rising senior state title holder for 3,200 meter, should compete for 2024 XC title  Read More

Wildcats honored for state tournament run  Read More

Norris football represented by five in ‘Futures’ program  Read More

Dark shines bright with state title, rising junior sets sights on more  Read More

Sports Camps  Read More


Free Fishing Day draws crowds outdoors  Read More

Lions recognize Miller for his service  Read More

Oak Ridge plans Outdoor Festival to be held June 22  Read More

ASAP to meet this Monday  Read More

OR Juneteenth celebration is Saturday  Read More


South Main Furniture & Mercantile now open in downtown Rocky Top  Read More

Eyeglass World opens at former mall site  Read More

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