By DALE GRAHAM
The Cheatham County Commission met in regular session Monday night. All members were present.
One of the items to be dealt with by the commission was appointing a replacement for the seat of Pegram’s LuAnn Engelman, who resigned effective February 15th. During the public forum portion of the meeting, Pegram resident Lou Chambers spoke in support of longtime active community volunteer Diana Pike, calling her “very truthful, very organized”, and listing the many events that she has organized and lead for the town.
Engelman was honored at the beginning of the meeting for her service to the county for 7 years as 5th District Commissioner.
When the time came to make an appointment, Chairman John Haines pointed out that there were 3 people who had sent letters to request consideration, (Diana Pike, Eugene Evans and Brent McDonald). All three have picked up petitions to run for the seat in the August election, Pike and Evans have turned their petitions in. Commissioner David Davidson nominated Pegram Alderman Eugene Evans. County Commissioner Rob Myers nominated Diana Pike. Engelman spoke out with her support for Pike to take her seat at the table. Davidson spoke in support of Evans and his experience as an alderman. The vote was 4 for Pike: Ramsey and Sanders 1st District, Myers 2nd District, and Jordan 4th District; to 7 for Evans: Jarreau 2nd, McCarver and Mayo 3rd District, Weakley 4th, Davidson 5th and Hedgepath and Haines 6th. Evans was sworn in and took his seat at the table.
Commissioner Jimmy Hedgepath from District 6, also an employee of Second South Cheatham Utility District wanted to share some information with the Commission. He explained that he was stopped by someone who asked him why the baseball field, wrestling field house and the green house at Harpeth High School have no water. He did not know, and she asked him to go figure out the problem. He went and looked things over and realized that the problem was “a school problem, it’s not the water department’s problem”, he said. “The reason the problem exists today is due to negligence, period, it’s negligence”, he added. He spoke to Jimmy Mitchell, who told him the pipes had frozen and a leak developed so he turned the water off. Hedgepath then called Dr. Curtis who wanted to know why water was needed at those facilities. Hedgepath explained the many reasons why water would be needed at school facilities, Curtis said he would get back with him. “A few days later, no water”, Hedgepath said.
Hedgepath’s next move was to contact 6th District Board Member Brian Chase, who he took on a driving tour of Harpeth High School, Harpeth Middle School, and Kingston Springs Elementary School. Hedgepath said he pointed out about 10 discrepancies that needed to be addressed, “that would knock you out”, he said. Chase agreed that he would not be proud to show an out of town visitor those problems.
He called and spoke to Curtis again, who told him to tell complaining people to call him.
Sometime after that he was driving through the HHS parking lot, and saw about 10 hosepipes coming from the school building and hanging into the greenhouse. A teacher said there was no still no water. Then he noticed a propane tank that was being used to heat the greenhouse, fenced in where she doesn’t have a key. She has been unable to get the key, and was concerned that the propane would run out and ruin all the work being done in the greenhouse. So Hedgepath called Dickson Gas and asked what the cost would be to run a line out to the greenhouse. $130 was the answer.
On Monday, Hedgepath went back, hosepipes were still strung out, but the teacher told him she knows how much propane she has left. When Hedgepath asked how much, she said “I’m out, and half of my stuff is dead”.
“I’m asking for answers here”, he said and explained that fixing the water problem would be a quick, easy fix. “I don’t have a problem spending money, I have a problem with wasting money”, he added.
Haines listed off other problems as well, and suggested that Hedgepath appear at the next Education Committee meeting. “It’s easy to ask for more money, but you shouldn’t be wasting what you’ve got”, he said.
The Cheatham County Commission meets the third Monday of each month at 7p.m. in the General Sessions Court room in Ashland City.