Fore Note: Now that the county has joined with the two cities to move forward, the three stakeholders have taken all
responsibility for the old, closed landfill. The three stakeholders will
spend more than $500,000.00 dollars to make minor repairs to the old landfill
which is private property owned by a multimillion dollar developer. A great deal
County OKs Poplar Springs work
By Jeremy Nash news-herald.net
Commission on Monday voted to continue Poplar Springs Landfill
remediation after receiving a letter from Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation Director Patrick Flood in September.
vote passed 7-2 with Commissioners Van Shaver and Earlena Maples
opposing, the board engaged in a lengthy discussion. Commissioner
Matthew Tinker was absent.
August agreed to hold off signing an agreement with contractor JD
Anderson. The decision was made after commissioners learned earlier
this year an exorbitant amount of legal services and expert fees
were being taken out of the Poplar Springs post-closure reserve.
As of Monday,
Commissioner Kelly Littleton-Brewster estimated the reserve had
about $195,000 in it. The fund initially had $437,968 four years
there’s an awful lot of money gone and we still haven’t started the
project,” Maples said. “I have no idea where — if the money runs out
it’s going to come from the taxpayers. ... We don’t want to be
disrespectful to the people that live there or cause them any harm,
but the thing is also we’ve got to have the money to pay for
whatever we do, whatever comes up.”
letter stated the county had a stake in the matter despite not
owning the property. Failure to move forward would result in a civil
penalty of up to $5,000 per day for violation of the Tennessee Solid
Waste Disposal Act.
agree with threatening like people that if you don’t do this you’re
going to have this done and all this kind of stuff,” Maples said.
“That’s no good. We need to be in here and do what we’re going to do
for the betterment of the people and try to be as cautious as we can
with the taxpayer money.”
Harold Duff echoed Maples’ thoughts.
“When we were
elected we were given the authority to cast a yes and a no vote,”
Duff said. “That’s worked for me in my 24th year. Now we’re told by
the state of Tennessee to sign a contract, ‘Vote yes or we are going
to fine you $5,000 a day.’ Where did the no votes go? Where did the
yes votes go? We have one vote here on Pat Flood’s letter and that’s
to vote yes or we’re going to be punished. ... We can’t vote no and
expect the taxpayers of Loudon County to pay that kind of money.”
Littleton-Brewster and David Meers motioned and seconded to move
forward with the state grant to do remediation, but before a vote
could be made Shaver asked for an amendment so that the project
would be contingent upon the county receiving its $88,000 that was
taken out of the general fund to pay for attorney Bob Bowman’s work
on Poplar Springs Landfill. Work dates back to 2013. He asked for
money to come out of the old landfill’s post-closure reserve.
Littleton-Brewster worried taking $88,000, along with the county’s
match of the $87,000 for the state grant, would dwindle reserves
down too much to maintain the property for a decade. Per an
agreement, Loudon County will maintain the landfill for 10 years
before handing it over to property owner Herb Newton.
She also said
reimbursement would require all entities involved to approve.
“If we pass
the amendment and Lenoir City or the city of Loudon says, ‘No, we’re
not reimbursing the money,’ then we stop the whole original motion
to proceed with the grant,” Steve Harrelson, commission chairman,
exactly the intent I have with the amendment because we already know
at least one of the cities has said absolutely no way, no shape, no
how is the county going to ever get their money back,” Shaver said.
“If any of us have any interest of at least being on the same
playing field with everybody else, we shouldn’t be out of any money
either. (Loudon’s) not out. Lenoir City’s not out. Why does the
county got to be out?”
failed 4-5, with Commissioners Harrelson, Duff, Leo Bradshaw, Bill
Satterfield and Henry Cullen opposing.
“This will go
down as the greatest most awful mistake this body ever made in the
history of Loudon County,” Shaver said. “The most costly mistake
this body ever made in the history of Loudon County. This is going
to be our doom for the rest of our life. This was unnecessary, it
should have never happened. Whether it was $340,000, whether it was
$170,000, this was brought to us by Mr. (Bob) Bowman from Mr.
moving forward would be a “colossal mistake of biblical proportions”
for the county.
commissioners were put in place by their representatives to vote
their convictions and we don’t need to be talking about each other
or saying we just devastated Loudon County,” Harrelson said.
action, Loudon County Commission:
• Voted down
matching Loudon’s $5,000 contribution for a fishing tournament.
individuals to 21 boards and committees.
• Agreed to
lift certain Tennessee Valley Authority rights-of-way for land off
Steekee School Road, allowing property owners to reclaim their
7.65 acres at 16746 Highway 11 East in Lenoir City from R-1
(suburban residential district) to R-1 (suburban residential
district) with a planned unit development overlay of 2.5 units per
• Accepted a
$1,271 technology grant, dollar-for-dollar match from the Loudon
amendments made to General Purpose School Fund 141 and School
Federal Projects Fund 142, with the largest being $465,000 from Fund
141. The majority of that will be for capital projects for Loudon
County Board of Education.