Elizabethton City Council approves bond sale for construction projects at Elizabethon Police Station, T.A. Dugger school

John Thompson • Feb 13, 2020 at 9:34 PM

EIZABETHTON — After several years of discussing improvements to the Elizabethton police station, the City Council was all action during its monthly meeting on Thursday, authorizing the issuance of $4.4 million in bonds for the construction.

The council later approved the standard form of agreement between the city and Burleson Construction Company to serve as project manager to upgrade the existing station and to tie a two-story warehouse next door to the complex to serve the Investigation Division and provide storage space for equipment and evidence. Reedy and Sykes is the project architect.

The construction cost is projected at a maximum guaranteed $2,099,104.

A second major capital cost to be funded by the bonds will be a construction project at T.A. Dugger Junior High School, which will include roof replacement and bringing the school into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mayor Curt Alexander pointed out that the school portion of the bonds will be paid back with revenue coming from the quarter-cent sales tax that is dedicated to school capital projects.

The bond authorization passed the council without opposition, but Alexander abstained from voting because of his connection with financial company Edward D. Jones, which could become involved in purchasing some of the bonds.

Richard T. Dulaney of the firm of Raymond James & Associates is assisting the city in the sale of the bonds. He told the council it was a favorable time to borrow and plans are to effect the sale on March 9.

In other matters, the City Council elected Jason Holly to serve as the interim city judge, but the date of his term will be different from previous schedules.

Holly will take office today, when Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street administers the oath of office at 1 p.m. But his term will be shorter than previously thought, according to City Attorney Roger Day. It had previously been thought the interim term would last until the next city election, which will coincide with the November presidential election.

Day said scrutinizing the city charter revealed the interim term would last until the next city or county election. He said the county will hold a small election in August for the property assessor and two County Commission seats. That meant the next city judge would have to be elected in August and run again in the November city election for the remainder of the late Judge T.J. Little’s unexpired term.

Holly defeated Teresa Murray Smith for the judgeship. They were the only candidates nominated. Councilman Kim Birchfield abstained from voting because Holly is his nephew.

Holly has been a resident of Elizabethton most of his life. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and then graduated with honors from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2000.

Another high point of the evening was the awarding of Medals of Distinguished Service to Elizabethton Police Cpl. James Deese and Patrolman Jesse Richardson for their actions during a shootout last September.