LUB meets behind closed doors

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

After a brief, routine meeting dealing with ordinary business matters, Loudon Utilities Board went into closed session Monday for discussion of personnel issues. Closed door discussions began shortly after 5 p.m. and continued for about 90 minutes.

When the meeting reconvened at about 6:30 p.m., General Manager Lynn Mills said the personnel issues involved the electric department.

"We hope they will be resolved in the next week," Mills said. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the problem. LUB attorney Joe Ford was present throughout the meeting.

In an unrelated matter, LUB gas customers will pay a rate of $1.01 per 100 cubic feet of gas billed after Friday.

The LUB board approved the rate after the price of natural gas delivered to the city gate for February fell to $3.4534 per dekatherm.

Electric customers of LUB will also receive a Tennessee Valley Authority Fuel Cost Adjustment for March of $1.35 per 1000 kilowatt hours. The adjustment followed a decrease of $2.047 per kilowatt hour.

Also during the meeting, LUB authorized replacement of a 1988 John Deere backhoe at a cost of $101,696. The old backhoe was declared surplus and will be sold on

The board also approved a donation of light poles for construction of the Vonore Veterans Park dock. The city of Vonore, part of which is served by LUB, had requested that LUB split materials cost with Fort Loudoun Electrical. Mills said the LUB cost will be $192.

Rick Kirby, with Jacobs Engineering, reported on a problem encountered with sinkholes developed last week around the water plant expansion construction area. Kirby said a sinkhole developed first around the electrical transformer and workers had to make repairs. That sinkhole was filled with 29 yards of concrete and capped.

When geotechnical experts performed tests, they found other problems in the area. Estimates for the work are about $40,000. Kirby said a second sinkhole developed that could cost an additional $26,000.

Kirby said funds for the unanticipated repairs may be available in the project contingency fund. Regardless, he said, the work must be done before the project can progress.

LUB board members unanimously voted to approve the expense.

Mills reported to the board that a private company, HomeServe, has been offering water service line insurance coverage to local homeowners. According to a letter sent to the city by the Connecticut-based HomeServe, the insurance will cover "water service emergencies" that arise when repairs are needed to waterlines on private properties.

"This is like any other type of insurance," Mills said. "It has nothing to do with us, so if there are issues, they are between them and the HomeServe people."

"We need to make sure people know that we are not responsible if something happens," LUB member Eugene Lambert said.