CLEVELAND, Tenn. - With the heat index staying around 100 degrees, the Bradley County Finance Committee on Wednesday authorized County Mayor D. Gary Davis to make an emergency purchase of a 20-ton heating and air unit to replace one that failed at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center.
The center employs disabled workers to perform jobs for local industries. Clients also can be placed with local businesses as full-time employees. There are 17 community rehabilitation centers across the state under the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
Bradley County bought the Overlook Drive building 10 years ago and paid for it by leasing the space to the state for the rehabilitation center.
"The building is like a manufacturing facility, a large open, industrial space," the mayor said.
The building is heated and cooled by two 20-ton heating and air units. One unit is sufficient to do the job most of the year, with the other used as a backup. During extreme weather, both units are used. But one of those units failed recently, raising temperatures in the building.
Davis presented estimates from two companies Wednesday.
"We don't have time for bids. If you approve this, it will be an emergency situation," Davis told the committee before the vote.
The money, about $18,000, would come from the county's capital projects fund, Davis said, and not from the general revenue fund. The revenue from the lease, more than $80,000 a year, more than justifies the purchase, committee members said.
After the long, hot summer, the new unit will become the primary heating and air provider. The older one will be the backup unit, officials said.
"That will stretch the life of the older unit," committee member Ed Elkins said.
Davis was authorized to negotiate the lowest and best bid.