|EMA cleaning price a concern?
The cost of cleaning the offices of Loudon County Emergency Management Agency will increase from just $720 per year to $3,072.
The hike comes after longtime cleaners, Rick and Patsy Harvey of the Harvey Company, decided to semi-retire by the end of 2017, causing officials to look for a replacement.
Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw said the Harveys had cleaned all county offices except the Justice Center and the health department since about 2006.
“I think in the big picture it was a little surprising,” Bradshaw said. “The Harvey Company, they were losing money on what they were cleaning and the price they were charging, so we kind of knew and expected it was going — that particular portion was going to be a little higher.”
Three bids came in Dec. 19, with Coverall being the lowest at $44,412 to clean county offices. Others were Groovy Bright Cleaning at $48,000 and S&Z Holdings, which accidentally bid $257,300 and eventually withdrew the bid.
Loudon County Purchasing Director Susan Huskey said the EMA portion was the only part that “significantly increased.”
Loudon County Commission will vote on a budget amendment to cover the increase at its February meeting. Bradshaw said the county will have to reevaluate the EMA portion of the contract if commissioners vote down the proposal.
Huskey said the EMA office is the only building not covered in the maintenance budget. Funds come directly out of the EMA budget because it is housed in a building not owned by the county.
“That’s a building of course EMA shares with 911,” Bradshaw said. “Now the county did back in 2006 put $140,000 toward the building, and so that includes EMA Director (Daryl) Smith, his assistant Kelli Branam, their areas, the common areas, and so it’s ... a little bit surprising but at the same time I understand why.”
Commissioner Van Shaver has some concerns with the increase.
“I plan to fully look into it a whole lot closer between now and the voting meeting, but it was a substantial annual increase and I guess what was surprising to me is just that little section ... has its own cleaning contract instead of just being serviced by whomever services the whole 911 building,” Shaver said. “So just little questions like that — I’m sure we need to get it cleaned but not sure how dirty it gets.”
Bradshaw said ultimately there isn’t much the county can do to get the price lower.
“We’ve been told it was the same amount of work as being done before, that it went out for bids and this was the lowest bidder,” Commissioner Matthew Tinker said. “... It’s just unfortunate. Sometimes when you have local people who have been working in the county for a long time doing things that when you have to go with a different group, sometimes the price goes up.”
County decides on EMA cleaning
Jeremy Nash news-herald.net
Loudon County Commission on Monday agreed money needed for cleaning Emergency Management Agency offices will be taken out of the department’s budget for the remainder of the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Commissioner Van Shaver motioned and Kelly Littleton-Brewster seconded, with the vote passing 9-1. Commissioner Henry Cullen was the lone opposing vote.
The vote comes after Loudon County officials had to find new cleaners when a longtime vendor opted for semi-retirement by the end of 2017. Three bids were received Dec. 19, with the lowest coming in at $44,412 from Coverall. The EMA’s cleaning portion amounted to $3,072 per year, a significant increase over the previous expense of $720.
EMA cleaning will require $1,146 to finish out the fiscal year, Loudon County Budget Director Tracy Blair said.
“Normally we try to pay the things out of existing budget rather than put new money in,” Shaver said. “That’s just a common practice we have. I don’t know why this one’s different. This is a department whose budget has grown by 80 percent since 2010. It’s gone from $102,000 to nearly $200,000, and this is how it’s done — $3,000, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and none of the numbers I’m giving you includes the squirt boat, that’s a whole different thing. That’s a standalone expense itself.
“But this is how it’s just crept up and crept up and crept up until just a few years ago ... it used to be a $50,000 a year project, and I’m not picking on Daryl (Smith, EMA director) but this is a department that’s just totally out of control as far as growth,” he added.
EMA’s initial budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year was $195,156.
“What you’re missing is all the EMA grants that go back into the general fund and fund it,” Cullen said, responding to Shaver. “That’s probably half of that number.”
Blair said the county budget committee unanimously approved the money.
“My thoughts are tonight, too, are we have committees in place to oversee items and make recommendations to full commission,” Steve Harrelson, commission chairman, said.
Commissioners will still need to look at the EMA cleaning in the next budget cycle, Shaver said.
“The only reason I said ‘nay’ is because at the end of the year if we don’t use it all, which he doesn’t, we send it back to the general fund,” Cullen said in a follow-up interview. “It was bid, they got to clean the place, they went out on the standard bid procedure and that’s what it came back at. I’m going to say the people that were doing before were giving them a heck of a bargain, so what are you going to do?”
In other news, Loudon County Commission:
Approved a resolution to amend the county zoning resolution, Article 5, Zoning Districts, Section 5.045 C-2, General Commercial District.
Rezoned 1.7 acres from C-2 (General Commercial District) to R-1 (Suburban Residential District) at 366 White Wing Road in Lenoir City.
Passed a resolution to accept donations to Loudon County Animal Shelter.
Moved forward with amendments in County General Fund 101, County Drug Fund 122, General Purpose School Fund 141 and School Federal Projects Fund 142.
Accepted a $3,327.50 donation by Loudon County Council on Aging to purchase a treadmill at Loudon County Senior Center.