Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trading roads for the Beck Center

In yesterday's earth-shattering, trailblazing, groundbreaking interview with the Knox County Mayor Tim “Mag Dog” Burchett (inside joke), we talked briefly about a proposal some commissioners (mostly Sam McKenzie) have about using at least some of the additional $364,000 that went to the engineering and public works department under the administration's proposed budget and sending to the Beck Center, the KAT and commissioner slush funds.

Yeah. The mayor isn't on board with that one.

So, I got some engineering records, the to-do list, the whatever.

Here's the deal (according to interim public works director Dwight Van de Vate):

The county has about 2,000 miles of roads. About 10 percent of them need immediate resurfacing. In 2000, the department resurfaced 95 miles worth. Between 2000 and 2004, the county resurfaced about 86 miles annually. In 2005, that number dropped to 65 miles and has declined ever since. Last year, the department resurfaced about 12 miles. The proposed budget for this year calls for 17 miles of resurfacing.

Nice. No wonder the roads around here suck.

You can read Dwight's memo to the mayor and Dean “The Emperor” Rice right smack here. It also includes another 10-12 pages of street names, dollars, coin, whatever, where work needs to be done. It's actually pretty detailed. I put it up here because I know you want to read it. So, again, click right smack here.

Now, here's where we get into the interesting stuff. Dwight wrote out (hope you can read his writing) a list of streets/roads/drives that are at the top of the to-do sheet. There's 11 of them, totaling a little more than $2 million. Now, the county isn't going to do all of them. But, if ANY additional funding is sliced from the engineering department, two roads - Amberset, located the 5th District and Coppock, in the 8th District - get cut first. They cost $117,000 and $218,000, respectively.

I don't know why those two get the hangman's noose. I didn't ask. Dwight probably has some good reason.

Now if you look at that list, which you can find by clicking right here, you'll notice something else: There are no roads slated for resurfacing in the 2nd District, which Amy Broyles represents, nor in the 1st District, which Sam McKenzie represents.

Well then, apparently McKenzie has nothing to lose by cutting the engineering department's street resurfacing coin. It's not like he's getting any help.


I'm curious, though, about what Dave Wright (8th District) and Richard “The Good Doctor” Briggs (5th District) think about the proposal. They've been usually quiet so far.

And they're the ones who could end up riding on those never-to-be-resurfaced bumpy, broke roads. Forever. Along with their constituents.

Something to chew on, I suppose.

UPDATE: Commission Vice Chairman Brad Anders pointed out to me that the reason there are no road projects in the 1st and 2nd Districts is because they are all in the city. Makes sense.


Brian Paone said...

And this guy's supposed to be a Site Operations Manager at the Spallation Neutron Source?


Can't spell, can't plan, can barely type, and this guy's part of one of our nation's biggest and best research projects - a fast-pulse neutron source that no doubt requires a lot of maintenance of its own?, just purely out of curiosity, what's the blast radius if something goes wrong at SNS?

Brian Paone said...

Up at the Beck Center now. Quite pretty-looking. A lot of money was spent on the aesthetics.

Unfortunately, Terry appears to be right about the lack of care when it comes to some of the artifacts - found a room upstairs with artifacts just laying around haphazardly, and a box marked "A45" with what appears to be documents in a closet with a bunch of paint and touch-up materials.

It also appears that they rely on the closed-circuit cameras to keep the second floor's artifacts safe from abuse. I pretty much had free run of the second floor.

Didn't try to go upstairs to the third floor.

The computer lab is not that great. It comprises of about 6 various old Dell Optiplexes that I can see, and the monitor I'm currently using is damaged - highly noticable LCD blemishes.

But yeah, the yard and building look super nice. So does the little red sports car parked in one of the employee slots. No idea who's that is.

Gonna poke around for a bit. Just overheard Rollins has an 11:30 appointment. I'm curious to see who it's with. (Not like anyone cares. I'm largely talking to myself on this blog anyway. Geez, Donila, post a Jesus And Guns article already and get some traffic up in this piece.)

Brian Paone said...

It's City Mayor Dan Brown. Looks like he's dropping off an application to change a street name.