$100 Grand More?

The photo above only shows a portion of the project. The entire project will go just beyond the Harrison Glenn subdivision.

Harrison Road project finally a go

City Administrator Amber Scott said the Tennessee Department of Transportation in November gave city officials the go-ahead to begin the construction process on Harrison Road.

Bids were opened for the project Dec. 8, and Scott said the apparent low bidder is Charles Blalock & Sons Inc., at a little more than $2.7 million. 1/11/17 News Herald

Lenoir City awards Harrison Road bid

Lenoir City Council has awarded the contract for Harrison Road improvements to Charles Blalock & Sons Inc., the lowest of three bids for the widening project.

Hold up there just a minute. While the headlines sound good and after ten years of planning it looked like the Harrison Road project was finally a GO, it appears Lenoir City officials just forgot one thing. They don't have enough money to do the project.

City officials some how didn't realize that they need about another $400,000.00 to relocate the utilities, water lines, gas lines, sewer lines and electric lines in the project area. But they do have a plan.

That plan includes, the city, Lenoir City schools, LCUB and the county to kick in about another $100,000.00 each to cover the shortfall. Problem solved?

Nearly 10 years ago, then Mayor Matt Brookshire came before the county commission to ask the county to contribute $$$ to the Harrison Road widening project. Originally,  the project was to be paid for as an 80%/20% project. Meaning, the state would pay for 80% of the project and Lenoir City would pay for 20% of the project. Brookshire's proposal to commission at that time was for the county to pay for half of the city's cost. So the state would pay for 80% Lenoir City would pay for 10% and the county would pay for 10%. Brookshire's logic was that one side of Harrison Road was in the city and the other half was in the county. Of course that's ridiculous but that was the pitch.

After a lot of discussion and debate and even a one month delay, the county commission voted to fund 10% of the project "up to a total of $176,900.00." That resolution was passed on November 5th, 2007. Yes, that's correct, 2007. So for all these years the county has had that $176,900.00 set aside waiting for the project to come to fruition. As a foot note, the resolution was passed contingent on the city annexing Harrison Road in it's entirety to the end of current city limits approximately at the point that Harrison Road intersects with Hubbard Road.

So here we are nearly 10 years later and not only does the city expect the county to pay their original 10% commitment but also is asking county tax payers to kick in another $100,000.00 or so to subsidies LCUB in moving their utilities. 

How, in the name of the gods of planning, do you get this far in a project of this magnitude and after this many years and not know you don't have enough money to do the project? I have no idea.

There's no doubt that intersection needs fixed. It needed it forty years ago when I went to school there or twenty years ago when my kids went to school there. But to ask the county tax payers to pay so much, nearly $276,900.00, to fix a city street is a stretch.

Apparently, after 10 years on the drawing board, now we need to hurry up and decide  if we will contribute the extra hundred grand. The county commission is scheduled to have a special called meeting on February 21st to discuss the matter of the extra $100,000.00.