Let’s Talk Water - meeting Tues April 9

Spencer, Tennessee, United States

(615) 486-4464

Learning Links

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Education + Action

Please feel free to use the links below to learn more about our county government, our county finances, state regulations, permits and processes related to current agenda items, Tennessee Code, etc.  

If you have a link that you’d care to share, please use the Contact Us section.

Thank you!

Van Buren County Government

Van Buren County TN government page: http://www.vanburencountytn.com

You’ll find minutes of the county commission meetings under the GOVERNMENT tab with a drop down to agendas and minutes. 

(This page is not the publication of record for the County Commission. Publications herein do not substitute Tennessee Code Annotated requirements for meeting notifications.)

You’ll find your commissioner and other elected officials under the GOVERNMENT tab, then use the drop down menu to scroll to elected officials.

If you have difficulty with the drop down menu under GOVERNMENT, try clicking or tapping the adjacent HISTORY tab, then moving back to GOVERNMENT again.

Audited Van Buren County Financial Statements

Audited County Financial Statements can be located on the Tennessee Comptroller’s page.

Year ended 6/30/2018:

https://comptroller.tn.gov/content/dam/cot/la/advanced-search/2018/county/FY18VanBuren.pdf

You’ll note repeated deficiencies in the 2018 report related to the interfund loan and purchase of Best Disposal Services. You’ll also see approx $350,000 in funds that were entered incorrectly such as an ambulance purchase input as an adjusted journal entry. 


Year ended 6/30/2017:

https://comptroller.tn.gov/content/dam/cot/la/advanced-search/2017/county/fy17vanburenafr.pdf

On page 171 and 172, of the year end 6/30/17 report,  you’ll note that the Audited financial statement for Van Buren County shows that our mayor and commission violated Tennessee Code section 9-121-151 and 9-21-408  when they decided to loan approximately a half million dollars from the General Fund to the Solid Waste Fund. Van Buren County used these funds to purchase the Best Disposal Services site and equipment. This expenditure, per the mayor and commissioners, was intended to sweeten the deal and attract JustBeGreen.com to do business with our county

The audited statement also notes that the county government intends to repay the loan through an “anticipated increase in Solid Waste Fees”.  The repayment to the General Fund is due at $100,000 per year for 5 years. Then $75,000 in the 6th year. 

In August of 2018, the commission voted to forgive $25,000 of this debt.

SpartaLive News on JustBeGreen/JustBeGreen Energy/Upper Cumberland Waste to Energy

SpartaLive has published several stories on the proposed Van Buren County Waste to Energy Plant. The big news for this plant is that  it’s bringing 75 jobs, 70 jobs, or 70 jobs less some upper management positions depending on what year and what writer or speaker is delivering the press release.

In October 2017, SpartaLive reported that land preparations would begin in 2018 and the plant would be functional in 2019: http://spartalive.com/van-buren-county-to-receive-300-million-economic-project/

In July 2018, SpartaLive reported that the plant would be open in 2019 and that both White County and Van Buren County had signed agreements or letters of intent with JustBeGreen Energy: http://spartalive.com/white-county-on-verge-of-recycling-almost-100-percent-of-solid-waste/

However, at the November 20 County Commission Meeting, Chuck Burgess stated on behalf of JustBeGreen that they would break ground in Spring of 2019 and be operational 18 months later. Approximately 2021, as one of the commissioners noted in his question and answer session with Mr. Burgess. There is currently no permit on record with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (see link to TDEC dataviewers below). 

TDEC Data Viewers - Who has a permit?

Data Viewers are available on the Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation (TDEC): https://www.tn.gov/environment/about-tdec/tdec-dataviewers.html

The viewers show any existing permits for Air, Water, and Solid Waste Management. Currently, there is no permit on file for the Pine Grove Road location that was once a Best Disposal Service site. 

Select the Solid Waste Management Data Viewer and turn off any filters. Enter Van Buren so that it pulls up all Van Buren locations. You’ll see the terminated permit for BDS effective July 2017. 

Phone calls and emails to TDEC on November 20 regarding Upper Cumberland Waste to Energyresulted in this response: “Never heard of this project.”

County Technical Assistance Services (CTAS)

VanBurenTN.Org meeting attendees have requested a link to CTAS, County Technical Assistance Services. You’ll find information about Tennessee Code Annotated under the E-LI tab. You can look at training presentations related to government officials under the Training tab. Please bear in mind that CTAS exists to support the county government. So although you may find the site information useful, a phone call or email to CTAS will likely result in no assistance to you, the citizen.

http://www.ctas.tennessee.edu/content/our-services

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EPA Public Notification Rule - to notify the public of Safe Drinking Water Violations...

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notification standards for Safe Drinking Water violations. The Public Notice (PN) Rule requires that all Public Water Systems (PWSs) notify consumers any time the PWS violates a national primary drinking water regulation or has a situation posing a risk to public health.  Noticues must be provided to persons served (not just billing customers).  Spencer Utility System/Spencer Utility Department  operated by City of Spencer is a Public Water System.] Here is the link to the Public Notification Rule: A Quick Reference Guide:
https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100529C.txt#_ga=1.47005794.472891366.1423060476