The Cumberland County Commission approved a $96,591 budget amendment for the purchase and installation of a new diesel back-up generator for the county’s Justice Center. Having a back-up generator is required by state law.

Earlier this month Cumberland County’s budget committee approved $139,000 to purchase a new gas generator in a 6-2 vote, but 3rd District commissioner and budget committee chairwoman Rebecca Stone submitted an alternate budget resolution during the county commission meeting, supporting the purchase of the cheaper, diesel generator.

“After talking with Sheriff [Casey] Cox, I asked Nathan [Brock finance director] to prepare an alternate resolution for a Justice Center Diesel generator. Based on the infrequent occasions that the Justice Center needs a generator, the longevity of the previous generator, the fact that the Justice Center has a 500-gallon diesel tank, allowing the fuel source to be in house in the event of an emergency, and upon further reflection, it makes more sense to Sheriff Cox to purchase the diesel generator and the county $42,600,” Stone wrote in a letter to county commissioners.

Earlier this month, Cox explained the current diesel generator at the Justice Center went down after working successfully for several hours during a recent power failure.

He said they had three options.

•Repair it by rebuilding the motor, with no warranty at approximately $43,000.

•Purchase a new 300-kilowatt diesel generator at roughly $64,800-$71,500 with rental generator costs and a two-year warranty.

•Purchase a new 300-kilowatt high-efficiency natural gas generator at $107,400-114,100 with the rental generator. With installation and other related expenses, the total would be $139,000.

Stone moved to approve the $96,591 amendment and Chad Norris, 1st District commissioner, supported the motion.

Wendell Wilson, 6th District commissioner, said, “Diesel is wonderful if you use it every day. If it sits, it will fill up with sediment and it has to be cleaned. If not, it will gel. The fuel filters have to be changed and there is a lot more maintenance than gas.”

First District Commissioner Chad Norris said, “Curt Buckner has a maintenance program that takes care of that.”

Joe Sherrill, 6th District commissioner, said, “Other than maintenance are there other problems? The tank is 25 years old.”

Norris said he did not ask.

Brock said, “It is a buried tank and has a required leak-detection monitoring system.”

Stone asked, “If we switch to gas, would we have to address the tank?”

Brock said, “Yes. It would have to be filled with concrete.”

Jim Blalock, 8th District commissioner, said, “If you don’t keep that tank full, it will fill with water. Gas is much cleaner, and there’s less maintenance.”

Stone said, “Commissioner (Carl) MacLeod (9th District) is not here, and he strongly recommended the gas generator. He said it would last better and be less maintenance.”

Kyle Davis, 2nd District commissioner, said, “We had 27 years of service out of the last diesel generator. If we maintain it, we’re not going to have a problem.”

The amendment was approved in an 11-4-1 vote.

Voting in favor were commissioners Norris and Sue York, 1st District; Nancy Hyder and Davis, 2nd District; Stone; David Gibson and Charles Seiber, 4th District; Jack Davis and Terry Lowe, 5th District; Jerry Cooper, 7th District; and Deborah Holbrook, 8th District.

Voting against the amendment were Darrell Threet, 3rd District; Wilson; Mark Baldwin, 7th District; and Blalock.

Sherrill, 6th District, passed on the vote.

The county also approved the following budget amendments:

•$270 for the sheriff’s office to accept donations to offset costs for the department’s trunk or treat Halloween event.

•$1,000 for the county to accept donations from Downtown Crossville Inc. for decorations to be used on the courthouse for Christmas.

•$2,478 for the Cumberland County Technology Education Department to accept donations from the Fairfield Glade Ladies Club to help with dual enrollment expenses.

•$2,500 for the sheriff’s office to accept a grant with no matching cost for overtime expenses for three task force officers for drug-related investigations.

•$8,000 for Emergency Management Agency to accept a grant for emergency preparedness.

•$16,335 from the unassigned fund balance to be used to purchase communication equipment in the courthouse and Milo Lemert Building for a new telephone system.

•$84,970 from the unassigned fund balance for professional services for architects to prepare a transition plan.

MacLeod, and John Patterson, 9th District commissioners, did not attend the meeting.

Gary Nelson may be reached at

Recommended for you