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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crossville Flashback: From 18 years ago--City overcharged for paving work by Highways Inc.

City Attorney Lanny Colvard reported to Crossville City Council Tuesday night that state auditors' estimate the city overpaid Highways, Inc. $335,938.05 for paving service during the period of July 1997 through June 1998.

In addition, Colvard reported that Highways used their records to calculate overcharges for the period of July 1996 through June 1997 and give Colvard a check made out to the city for $68,200.17.

Colvard added that City Finance Director Lisa Brown worked from the same weigh tickets and invoices coming up with an overcharge figure of $70,433.23, a difference of $2,233.06. Several of the weigh tickets and invoices were unclear and hard to read, according to Colvard, so the city's number may not be exact.

"I'm in the process of negotiating repayment of the balances not paid," Colvard reported. "I hope to be in a position to ask for a work session shortly on these reports."

Councilman John Dooley said, "These numbers total over $400,000. There's no way this can be a series of mistakes. I want to know where the money went!"

Dooley moved that the city accept no money from Highways, Inc. at this time, adding that he wanted to know what the exact amount was before accepting any repayment. In addition to the check Colvard received, Highways previously gave a check to the city for $96,219.15, the company's figure for the overcharges on theSparta Drive project.

Colvard advised the council that he had discussed the matter with the District Attorney's office and the city's acceptance of the money was no problem and would not affect their decision on whether or not to prosecute.

After canceling the Highways, Inc. paving contract earlier this year, council approved new bids on asphalt and paving services, awarding the bid to Tennessee Asphalt. Highways, Inc. did not submit a bid.

Colvard also reported that Chancellor Leon Burns would be setting his court calendar September 17 and Colvard told council he will ask that the trial be set for the lawsuit with the Utility Districts in late December or early January. Colvard also reported the districts had hired a rate engineer and were requesting 32 pieces of information from the city. The requested information is being collected.

In other action, Council deferred action on two requests to purchase industrial property and set a work session on the matter for Thursday, September 10 at 5:00 PM. National Cylinder Requalification Corp. and National Cylinder Salvage Corp. has requested five acres expecting to employ 10 people after 3 years and Robert F. May wants to purchase one acre for his company to employ five.

Councilman Dooley said he felt two employees per acres is not adequate use of difficult to acquire industrial land. Dooley added not only must the city purchase the land, but also install roads and utilities. Crossville Realtor and council candidate Gene Turner suggested that council have industrial land appraised so prospective companies can see the actual value of the land against the purchase price given to entice them to locate their business here.

Council passed third and final reading of the Ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses. One Crossville video store operator questioned specifics of the measure but was assured the ordinance was directed at businesses that carried mainly adult videos and the final reading passed unanimously.

Council recognized Tessa Whittenburg as the student of the month. Tessa is in Sue Hassler's First Grade class at Crossville Elementary and "works hard": according to her teacher.

Council also honored Portia Barnwell as the Junior Fairest of the Fair and Lindsey Hill as the Junior Miss Fairest of the Fair presenting each girl with a proclamation and a rose.

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