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No new schools, School Board chooses to add classrooms
New traffic lights installed at bypass intersection
Daily’s robbery still under investigation

State revenue $41.4M less than budgeted

Dale Hollow Dam road to close for repair

No new schools, School Board chooses to add classrooms
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education favors adding rooms to Livingston Academy and Rickman Elementary School to relieve overcrowding, but only by a small margin.

All School Board members were present for the work session Monday, Oct. 26 to consider means of relieving the growing problem.

After much discussion and debate, four ideas were put before the Board: A) build a K-8 at Monroe and a 7-12 at Rickman; B) build additional rooms at Livingston Academy and Rickman Elementary School; C) build only a 7-12 at Rickman; D) build one high school for the county and turn the current Livingston Academy building into a 6-7-8.

When asked which they preferred, Kelly Hill, Mark Peek, Houston Robbins, David Sadler Sr., and Ray Smith preferred B, Larry Looper, Howard Miller, and Sam Pendergrass wanted C, Dolphus Dial wanted A, and Lenard Ledbetter would not agree to any of them without a plan for paying for it. Thus, plan B became the course to pursue.

With the course of action chosen, more information will be gathered to help the School Board form the plan further when it is next brought up for discussion.

Overton County Board of Education will next meet in an open door work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the Central Education Office.

In Monday’s work session, before a direction was decided on, the current debt was stated as $21.1 million. For 2008-2009, Overton County Schools made debt service payments of $1,042,376.82. Of that amount, wheel tax revenue accounted for $570,903.63.

Assistant Director of Schools Terry Webb said, “Wheel tax is paying about half of our debt. Then the other half we’re having to come up with it out of BEP funds.”

Whereas School Board members Miller, Pendergrass, and Looper favored a long-term solution in the form of a 7-12 at Rickman, which a high estimate handed out to the Board members projected at almost $39 million, others could not justify the expense in tough economic times.

School Board member Peek said, “We’re not against Rickman having a school, Alpine having a school, Monroe having a school – show me the money, guys. How’re we going to pay for it? We can’t do it.

“You can say we’re band-aiding it if you want to, but we’ve got to find a way of getting through this bad economy before we can build four new schools.”

County Commissioners Billie G. Phipps, Cindy Robbins, Bruce Ledford, Darwin Clark, and Ben Danner were also in attendance, and Danner also spoke out about the funding.

“If there’s a million right now being paid on it, then if you owe 60 million, you’re going to owe 3 million a year,” Commissioner Danner said.

“Where’s that going to come from? There’s no way the county can come up with it. That’d be like raising the taxes 500 percent.”

Looking for a practical solution for the present time, School Board member Sadler said, “I’d like to talk a little more about what we have to do to – you can call it band-aid it or whatever you want to call it – but I’d like to talk more about what we have to do, like the 8 or 10 rooms added at Rickman, what we have to do to get by this.”

And Commissioner Clark spoke up about the money involved.

“Folks, these people can’t do it right now; there’s not enough employment in the county,” he said. “That’s our concern with the whole thing. We all know you need improvements, that’s not the issue here. How are we going to pay for it? That’s the issue.”

But School Board member Pendergrass questioned numbers that suggest that adding 10 classrooms at Rickman will help the overcrowding problem for seven years.

“What good is that?,” he asked.

Chairman Hill answered, “In seven years we may be out of the recession.”

Later in the discussion, Pendergrass again spoke against a short-term measure.

“We can’t sit around and build again next year,” he said. “We need to do it and be done.”

To which Peek said, “I’m with you, but we can’t afford it.”

After the list of possible plans was compiled, and before the School Board members voiced their preferences, Commissioner Clark urged them to be aware of whom their decision could affect.

“When you all think about this, don’t think about getting the money from the county, because you’re not getting it from the county. You’ve got to think about the taxpayers; this is where the burden’s going to fall,” Clark said. “It’s not going to fall on the County Commission or the county government, it’s going to fall on the taxpayers. When you make that decision, you need to be thinking about them.”



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New traffic lights installed at bypass intersection

Julie Young photo
New traffic lights are flashing yellow at the intersection of Bradford-Hicks Drive (Livingston bypass) and Upper Hilham Highway and West First Street. According to Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes, the lights are expected to be fully operating today, Wednesday, Oct. 28 or the next day. The intersection has been the scene of 11 traffic fatalities in the past 10-years, prompting the city to ask the state to study the problem. After conducting the study, the state found that traffic lights were needed. The lights may also alleviate some of the congestion from afternoon Livingston Middle School traffic.


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Daily’s robbery still under investigation
Livingston Police Department is investigating a robbery at Daily’s Market on East Main Street, which occurred Wednesday, Oct. 14.

According to reports, the convenience store was empty, except for the clerk, when a masked man entered around 10:30 p.m. and demanded cash from the register, and suggested that he had a weapon. The clerk apparently had some difficulty opening the register, so the robber took the register and left the store.

LPD officers were called to the scene, then two canines from Cookeville Police Department were brought to the scene and tracked a scent several hundred yards before losing a trail.

Anyone with any information about the case should contact Det. Jacob Boswell or Det. Tim Poore of Livingston Police Department.

State revenue $41.4M less than budgeted
Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 10.5%, 0.2 percentage points higher than the August rate of 10.7%.

The United States’ unemployment rate for the month of September was 9.8%.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September show that the rate increased in 11 counties, decreased in 83 counties, and remained the same in 1 county.

Scott County had the state’s second highest unemployment rate at 18.4%, down from 19.1 in August.

Overton County’s unemployment rate was 12% for September, down from 12.6% in August. Overton had 1,160 unemployed of a workforce of 9,680.
Overton County is included in the Cookeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, along with Putnam County and Jackson County. Unemployment in the Cookeville MSA went down from 11.2% to 10.5% in September, with 5,070 unemployed of a workforce of 48,450.

Jackson County’s unemployment rate went down from 14.5% in August to 12.7% in September. Jackson had 610 unemployed of a workforce of 4,800.

Putnam County’s unemployment rate went down from 10.3% in August to 9.7% in September. Putnam had 3,300 unemployed of a workforce of 33,980.

Clay County’s unemployment rate went down from 13.6% in August to 12.6% in September. Clay had 410 unemployed of a labor force of 3,270.

Pickett County’s unemployment rate went down from 13.8% in August to 13.4% in September. Pickett had 240 unemployed of a workforce of 1,750.

Fentress County’s unemployment rate went down from 13.7% to 13% in September. Fentress had 980 unemployed of a workforce of 7,570.

Unemployment information is available online at http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/september2009county.pdf.




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Dale HollowDam road to close for repair
The road crossing Dale Hollow Dam will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports.

The purpose of the road closure is to provide space for cranes and other large equipment, and to ensure the safety of those performing scheduled maintenance work. Improvements will be made to the railings, including concrete repairs, to provide for public safety. In addition, head gate cabling will be replaced.

A release from the Corps states, “It is anticipated that the work may take up to six months to complete; the road will be closed for the duration of the improvements.”

The road will be barricaded at the intersection of Walker Ridge Road and Will Terry Road near the south end of the dam and barricaded at the Dale Hollow Dam Road/Cut Through Road intersection at the north end of the dam.

Status updates of the road closure can be found on the Dale Hollow Lake fishing webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/pao/lakeinfo/DAL.htm.



Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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