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Commissioners Approve Moving Forward With Maintenance And Bus Garage Projects

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Commissioners Approve Moving Forward With Maintenance And Bus Garage Projects

Putnam County Commissioners voted Monday night to begin the bidding and construction process for the new county road and maintenance garage and school bus garage.

The facilities will be built on 35 acres along the east side of Tennessee Avenue, across from the new fairgrounds. The estimated price tag of $5 million will be paid for by the sale of the Shoney’s Hill property as well as the land where the current facilities sit. County Mayor Randy Porter said that land, with an estimated sell price of $3 million, cannot be sold until the new facility is completed.

“We’ve got pretty close to the final draft of the plans,” Porter said. “We are looking at somewhere around the next couple of months to get the bids package out for the dirt work and everything to start on the facility.”

Commissioner Grover Bennett proposed a $5 million cap on construction work.

“We started down this journey on moving these two items, the school bus and the county highway,” Bennett said. “We’re trying to sell the land and build new facilities with the sale of that property with no extra tax money. So we’re looking at about $5 million. I think that’s doable.”

The county road and maintenance department will feature 16 bays along with office space. It will be placed on the backside of the property. The school bus garage will include parking for 100 buses as well as a bus driver training area. The school bus offices will also feature a training facility that can be used by all county departments. A fueling station sits between the two facilities.

Porter said the committee tried to complete the bus garage drawings first. He said there may be a few more tweaks to the road and maintenance garage with Road Supervisor Randy Jones.

Porter said both facilities can easily be expanded in the future. The facilities will be built on 24 acres leaving 11 acres with frontage on Tennessee Avenue.

In other business, commissioners unanimously approved additional pay for poll workers effective with the May election. Elections Administrator Michele Honeycutt estimated the increases would cost some $14,000 for the May election with a November Presidential race at an estimated $21,000. Honeycutt said she believes her department can cover this year’s May race within its budget.

Commissioners approved the sale of some 19.32 acres in the Highlands Business Park as part of “Project Husky.” Lot D will be sold to an existing employer in the county with a $16 million capital investment. Mayor Randy Porter said no abatements were given to the business, but the city and county agreed to reduce the price of the land by about $12,500 per acre. The acreage will be sold for $22,500 per acre.

Commissioner Jonathan Williams asked realtors on the commission whether it was a good deal for the county.

“I think it’s probably fair,” Commissioner Kathy Reels said based on some of the terrain on that parcel.

Commissioner Chair Mike Atwood said the piece of property has not had much interest over the last several years.


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