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Norris OKs seeking bids to replace fire hall roof, Oak Road Park pavilion

The flat roof over the rear portion of the Norris fire and police building will soon be replaced with a gabled one, which should stop leaks that allow rainwater to fall onto fire trucks and other fire equipment inside the building. (photo:G Chambers Williams III )
The Norris Public Safety Building will be getting a new roof on the rear section soon, which will stop the water leaks during storms that are drenching fire equipment, including the trucks.

On Monday night, the City Council authorized city administrators to seek bids on the roof replacement, after City Manager Adam Ledford told the council, “No temporary solution is going to fix the problem.”

The work will include new, larger gutters to handle runoff from the new roof, which will be a gabled roof to replace the current flat one.

Mayor Chris Mitchell said he visited the fire station over the past weekend during heavy rain and shot video of water coming through the ceiling and falling on the city’s expensive fire equipment.

The council voted 4-0 to approve going out for bids on the roof replacement.

Mitchell abstained from voting on the roof replacement because of a possible conflict of interest, he said. He owns the building next door to the fire station that houses a restaurant and physical therapy practice. The new gutters should help direct stormwater runoff away from Mitchell’s building.

Still under consideration are long-term plans for the building, which houses the city’s police and fire departments.

Ledford said there is a possibility that the Fire Department could take over the entire building, and the city could find or build new quarters for the Police Department.

He said that with the police exiting the building, the Fire Department would gain some meeting and training space, but that more storage space would still be needed. He suggested that a storage area could be created by replacing a shed on the rear of the building with a new, larger structure.

The council also approved a motion to seek bids for removal and replacement of the Oak Road Park pavilion. The new pavilion would be slightly larger than the present one, which is in poor condition. In other business Monday, the council:

• Approved a bid of $167,764 for repaving of Butternut Drive and the first 2,200 feet of Hickory Trail from its intersection with Butternut. The project will not include curbs, as the city had hoped. The contractor bid a surprisingly high $600,000 to add curbs to the project.

• Heard from Ledford that no bids were received on replacement of siding on the city-owned McNeeley Building, which houses the library and Norris Museum. The council asked that Ledford advertise again for bids, and try to reach out to some local contractors who might have contacts among possible bidders.

• Set another council workshop for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, to follow up on this past Monday’s workshop looking at ways to fix stormwater runoff issues on city streets, and other maintenance needs. This will be before the regular council meeting for October, which will begin at 6 p.m.

• Heard from Ledford that the city has now invested more than $2 million of its cash on hand into the Tennessee Local Government Investment Pool, earning interest of at least 4%. Ledford said the move from non-interest-bearing bank accounts to the fund pool will earn the city at least $112,500 in interest over the next year.

• Passed a resolution to seek $54,601 in sales tax payments from the state Department of Revenue that were initially sent to Anderson County in the wake of the city’s annexation of areas along Andersonville Highway in 2010-2011. Under a complicated process, the city could have had that money redirected to the city’s coffers earlier, but did not make the proper application to the state to do so.

• Approved a resolution on a 3-2 vote to contribute $1,000 in city funds to help pay for the annual Concerts on the Commons that occur each June and early July.

These concerts were started by the late Jack Mitchell, and have been carried on since his passing three years ago. Powell Clinch Utility District contributes $5,000 a year to pay the performers for the concerts, but expenses have risen and more money is needed, council members were told.

Mayor Mitchell and Councilwoman Loretta Painter voted against the appropriation, saying they believed that any additional money should be raised through private donations.

“I do not feel comfortable with spending taxpayer dollars on concerts,” Painter said.

Councilmen Will Grinder, Chuck Nicholson and Bill Grieve voted in favor of the payment.