Work on Phase 1 of the Northwest Connector is going well. This is the south end of the project where it connects to Sparta Highway directly across from Tennessee Ave. A decision on the other two phases is waiting on action by the Crossville City Council.

Though it was not on the agenda at the March 11 meeting of the council, a motion to seek a request for qualifications (RFQ) for engineers for section two and three of the Northwest Connector was approved on a 3-2 vote.

During the city manager's report, Councilman Jesse Kerley asked to seek the qualifications, supported by Councilman Pete Souza. 

Councilman Danny Wyatt said, "I don't believe we're doing the Northwest Connector at the present time, are we, Mayor?"

Mayor J.H. Graham III said, "I think that's been stopped. But I would like to say that it occurs to me that with all the data the existing engineering firm has, if the Northwest Connector gets back on the agenda, so we can discuss it, I don't see that we need to seek RFQs if it's not even on the agenda right now."

The engineer on the project has been Gresham Smith and Partners. A proposal from the firm for section two of the Northwest Connector, which would connect Hwy. 127 to Hwy. 70 N., was $353,000.

Souza said, "I believe it is in the best interest of the citizens to look at what the other engineers propose."

City Manager David Rutherford said state law required services such as engineering services to be advertised with a request for proposals. Fees and scope of work are then negotiated with the selected qualified engineer or firm.

Graham said, "That's an awful lot of work."

Souza countered, "It's an awful lot of money."

The motion passed with Wyatt and Graham voting no and Kerley, Souza and Councilman George Marlow voting in favor.

In other business, the council approved the following:

•Budgeting $18,000 for the annual Crossville Memorial Airport Fly-In. The amount is greater than last year, but Marketing Director Billy Loggins explained that was due to a difference in accounting for the many departments who help to put the annual fly-in and open house on, including fire and police departments.

•Reducing the employer contribution rate for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System from 14.3 percent to 13.65 percent, effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

•Extended the loan agreement between the city and the National Museum of the United States Air Force for public display of "Miss Nettie," an Air Force jet on display at Cumberland County High School.

•Advertise a request for qualifications for financial audits.

•Amendment to an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for an industrial access road to serve CoLinx.

•Grant applications to the Governor's Highway Safety Office for alcohol saturation and checkpoints; young driver crash reduction; high visibility enforcement grant; and network coordinator grant.

•Action was deferred on an amendment to the Habitat Conservation Plan grant contract.