Board discusses moving electric poles on Highway 111

Three police officers hired

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During the regular meeting of the Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen, on Nov. 19, placement of electric poles was a primary topic.

The board voted unanimously, except for absent alderman Jerry Lowery, to approve a proposal for Rerouting Line and Replacing Bad Poles, with work performed by Service Electric Company of Chattanooga. The city has a contract with the Chattanooga company to work on larger, double circuit poles that the city is not able to maintain inhouse. The proposal was for the amount of $150,000, including $85,000 designated for moving poles that are now sitting on the Jason Lewis Automotive property, on Auto Lane, along the northbound lane of Highway 111. 

“When we first ran those lines years ago, that wasn’t one person’s place; it was a property line,” Belva Bess, Sparta Electric System manager, told the board.

Bess said when the property belonged to Bill Boruff, he expanded the lot, and the expansion caused the existing poles to be on a usable portion of the property now.

Bess said the proposal includes moving the poles that support the heavy wiring, 705 primary line that comes out of the substation, down the road in front of the lot and continue along city property to Industrial Drive.

“Currently, we can’t get in there, we can’t get to our poles, and we’ve had some arcing of some of our lines, which gets on top of their cars,” Bess said, explaining the reasons behind the urgent need to move the poles. “Our best bet is to get those lines away from his cars and where we can have access to our lines any time we want to.”

Included in the project proposal is the cost of replacing old wooden poles with steel poles to improve the city’s infrastructure.

“The other pole replacements are the big double circuits,” Bess explained. “We will replace wood poles with steel poles and use fiberglass cross arm so there is no rotting on that so that we have better infrastructure down the road.”

Public works director Dillard Quick also talked about replacing streetlight poles when he discussed the upcoming inhouse projects his crews would be completing over the winter months.

“We spoke about moving those streetlight poles behind the sidewalks,” Mayor Jeff Young said.  “You’ll see that happen in several places across town.  I’m not sure what the original design on that was that, but in a lot of places, that pole was in the middle of the sidewalk. We are taking steps to move them back. It will look a lot better and hopefully it will be a little bit safer too.”

Other items on the agenda included approving the Recommendation of Award for the 2019 ARC – Wilson Sporting Goods Sewer Pumping Station in the amount of $272,000 to John T. Hall Construction of Sparta. According to city administrator Brad Hennessee, the materials will have a 13-to-15-week lead time once ordered so he anticipates construction to take place in the spring of 2021.

All of the city’s department managers gave brief reports on the operation and status of their respective departments. The electric department informed the board that the Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging station has been installed and is operational and Fire Chief Kirk Young stated his department has completed all of their state-required certifications when they completed a Domestic Violence certification class Nov. 8. Hennessee told the board the Roosevelt Drive Phase Two paving should be completed in the next week, with the striping being done after Thanksgiving. The board also approved police officer applications for Brent Copeland, Justin Cunningham, and Brandon Farris.

Before the meeting adjourned, Young asked the board, and they approved, to authorize Hennessee to begin researching the availability of grants that may be available to help Sparta’s senior center offset the cost of purchasing a generator so they can continue providing meals in the event of a power outage.

Hennessee also mentioned city hall’s Christmas display and said he wanted to publicly give thanks to Tory Martin, Christina Delk, and Heather Truitt who donated their time and personal decorations to be ensure that the lobby and the front windows were ready to welcome visitors for the holiday season.    

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