Pole question triggers debate at Commission
By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Discussion as to whether work on poles being replaced at the Cannon County Sports Complex was up to code sparked a lengthy debate during the Cannon County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday (March 11).
Citizens in the audience implied contractors with S&W had stated there was faulty wiring that should be replaced as the poles were being replaced; however, whether it was contracted or not was at the heart of the debate.
"You have nine poles going up in the air that have faulty wiring," said John Resco, who also works for an electric company and says he offered the county the opportunity to fix the wiring at cost in a previous meeting. "Now you are going to have to drive around in a bucket truck to fix what should have been fixed while the poles were on the ground."
Commissioner Kevin George said it was not the responsibility of the commissioners to oversee the project.
"Here is the deal with the poles and wiring," George said. "The 10 of us that are sitting here are not the administrators of this stuff. We don't sit down here all day and get paid to make sure those poles get fixed. Our job is to decide what action needs to be taken and someone else … (County Executive Mike Gannon) is the one who is supposed to make sure the wiring is fixed. The voter needs to address that with him, not me."
Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon was glad to set the record straight and indicated that S&W was only responsible for replacing nine poles. Gannon said the commissioners were told any faulty wiring that was found at the top of the poles would be replaced.
"And any faulty wiring is being replaced," Gannon said. "All S&W was responsible for is the (nine) poles. Not only are we replacing the poles, but I am also having my maintenance guy redo the wiring at the top before the poles go up. We are also replacing any bulbs that are shot and they are $30 each. All of that is coming out of my budget. I am covering that, and don't have to. We are actually doing more. S&W is doing just what it was contracted to do."
Commissioner Jim Bush assured citizens the issue would be fixed.
"I give you my word the wiring will be fixed," Bush said. "Whether or not it was supposed to be done like we were told last meeting, it's going to be a non-issue."
Chairman Mark Barker pointed out the commissioners voted to replace nine poles and that was the pressing issue.
"Copper wire last a long time," Barker said. "All, or most, copper wires in Woodbury are naked. In certain situations wiring doesn't need a coat. The poles were the pressing issue. We have to take this one step at a time and get all of the poles done. I'm just saying let's take it one step at a time. If S&W thinks we need some wiring upgrade then I would entertain doing that, yes, but not until we get done with the poles because that was the pressing issue."
Gannon says everything that was contracted to happen has, and more, including fixing any existing faulty wiring on the top of the poles.
The county executive also said he will look into bids for wiring.
"From what I understand I'm to get a bid on what it would cost to replace all of the wiring, electrical and all of it," Gannon said. "I will do that. If (the commissioners) will appropriate the money we will get it done. I will get them a bid on all new wiring. It is not necessary. Even Middle Tennessee Electric didn't really think so, but if (commissioners) want to fund it we will get it done. They know the purse strings. It is up to them. It is not my call."
In other business, the commissioners passed all budget amendments. The Commission also unanimously voted to name the bridge on Doolittle Road, the "Macon A. Davenport Memorial Bridge."
It also passed a resolution asking the Tennessee General Assembly to more equitably distribute local option sales tax collected by online retailers were warranted. They also passed a resolution supporting the naming of State Route 1 (Hwy. 70S) "The Gold Star Families Memorial Highway." Chairman Barker pointed out that this would not change anything already in place (i.e. John Bragg Highway).
The Commissioners also passed a resolution asking the Cannon County Legislative Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly to take the necessary action to place the question of the location of the final segment of Hwy. 70S on the Cannon County ballot in the next Tennessee General Election in a public referendum.
Election commissioner Corey Davenport told the Board of Commissioners the referendum would have to be on the state General Election ballot and could not be on the Cannon County general election ballot in August.