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City talks recycling, energy efficiency, bike beer, $10M grant
Karen House
May 25, 2019, 10:43 a.m.

Angela Myers of BFI "Republic" sanitation company addresses the City Commission.

May 25, 2019 – In a 1 1/2-hour meeting Thursday, the city of Dunlap went through a long agenda, which included possibly allowing outdoor beer sales, participating in a pilot program for energy-efficient insulation, a $10 million downtown improvement project, and possibly stopping the recycle program.

RECYCLING

The city is reconsidering its recycle program after hearing from representatives of two different waste disposal companies at a lengthy monthly meeting May 23.

Recycling has fell in favor the last four or five years, especially the single-stream recycling,” Angela Myers told commissioners. Myers represented BFI “Republic” waste management, which has had the waste and recycling contract with the city of Dunlap for several years.

Since China has quit buying America's recyclables, it has become less cost-effective for sanitation companies to handle recycling. There is also the issue of contaminated recycling.

You've got seven different types of plastic, and if those are mixed, that's contaminated,” Sean M. Sims, owner of Priority Waste Services said.

Recycling is coming to be a thing of the past,” he said. “Essentially, in the future you're going to start paying. It's all too contaminated. It just ain't gonna work. If the recyclers reject it, it is going to the landfill.”

Republic and Priority were the two sanitation companies that submitted a bid for the contract with the city of Dunlap, and the City Commission voted to accept the low bid for garbage pick-up from Priority, which was $9.92 per container. The commission decided to hold a special called meeting at 6 p. m. next Thursday, May 30, to decide whether to continue the recycling program.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The Dunlap City Commission also heard from Warren Nevad of TREEDC, who proposed that the city follow up on its solar project last year with another energy upgrade that would involve installing some new-technology insulation panels above the ceiling tiles in government buildings.

TREEDC is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency, and Nevad was speaking on behalf of a company that recently developed a new technology for conserving heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.

It's an internal energy efficiency pilot program,” he said, “with patented technology.”

The substance contained in the panels absorbs energy when temperatures climb and then when the temperatures cool they change in density, releasing the heat back into the buildings.

The green recycle bins may become a thing of the past, if the Dunlap recycling program is discontinued.

Nevad estimated that the improvements could save the city 20-30 percent in HVAC cost. By leasing the technology from the company that developed it, and paying on a monthly basis, Nevad calculated that the energy savings would pay the lease and return a profit to the city in lower utility bills.

After some discussion, commissioners voted to give the company access to past city utility bills and city buildings – to measure the space required – and return a proposal to the city, but “not to obligate” the city in any way at this point.

When the vote was cast, Mayor Dwain Land abstained due to conflict of interest, because he is the president of TREEDC. Commissioner Judy Layne was absent, so that left three commissioners, and Comm. Bryan Harmon voted “no.”

A brief consultation with the city's attorney confirmed that a simple majority of commissioners voting was all that was required.

BEER ORDINANCE

The City Commission considered a request for outdoor sale of beer at the Cycle Sequatchie bicycling event to launch from Dunlap Oct. 5. Although the city's beer ordinance forbids outdoor sale of alcoholic beverages, the Cycle Sequatchie website already advertises the availability of beer for the event.

Comm. Bryan Harmon said the city "might be opening a Pandora's box" by relaxing the beer ordinance.

Police Chief Clint Huth pointed out to commissioners that the last amendment to the city's beer ordinance was made in the late eighties and, in his opinion, it needed to be updated, whether they chose to approve outdoor sales or not.

Comm. Jeff Harmon suggested the board review the beer ordinance at the special called meeting next Thursday, and commissioners agreed.

B.U.I.L.D. GRANT APPLICATION

The city also voted to apply for a nearly-$10 million federal grant through the BUILD program (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development), with the design contract to go to Farmer-Morgan if the city is awarded the grant.

The city of Dunlap has applied for this very competitive grant several times before, but never made the final cut.

Comm. Allen Jones expressed appreciation for all the pro-bono work Farmer-Morgan has put in to pursuing this grant, but also expressed reservations about giving the firm the contract without considering other options.

I am a little hesitant to automatically award design,” Jones said.

If you are hesitant to approve us,” Benjamin Farmer said, “we would be strongly hesitant to move forward with the application process. We have several thousand dollars in it, in labor, already.”

The $9.156 million grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation which would pay for upgrade of the downtown area, including sidewalks, bike lanes, lighting improvements, and storm drains, would require a local match of $1.017 million.

Farmer-Morgan has worked on several past city projects, including the Coops Creek greenway, and on most projects has been paid 15-20 percent of the cost of the project for their services.

In other business, the Dunlap City Commission:

  • Held a public hearing for Ordinance #269 – Cell Tower Ordinance, and there being no public input, the commission approved the new ordinance on third and final reading.
  • Set up a new bank account to handle bond proceeds.
  • Approved a change order by Angel Construction for an industrial pump station, amending the contract upward by $900.
  • Approved a change order for CDBG – Rye Engineering contract, which is a water loss project covered by a 2018 grant and involves no increase in cost to the city.
  • Approved a Memorandum of Understanding to provide natural gas for maintenance of the Eternal Flame at the Veterans Memorial Park.
  • Approved a contract with the South East Tennessee Development district for consultant services.
  • Reappointed Norman Hatfield as city recorder and treasurer.
  • Heard first reading of Ord. #270 – Ordinance to rezone property on Wagner Lane/Pine Street (the Valley Fest property) from R-1 residential to C-1 commercial.
  • Approved an audit contract with Johnson, Murphey, and Wright.
  • Approved two water line extensions – One on Church Street next to First Baptist Church and another on Tram Trail.
  • Approved a $567 one-time water bill adjustment.
  • Heard Police Chief Huth report 308 calls in April, with 157 arrests/citations.
  • Heard Fire Chief Norman Hatfield report 16 alarms in April, including two structure fires, two car fires, one traffic accident, and some brush fires.

All votes, except the one noted, were unanimous. The next meeting of the Dunlap City Commission is scheduled for Thursday, May 30, at 6 p.m. The commission meets at City Hall, and all meetings are open to the public.