DAYTON, Tenn. - Rhea County commissioners this week agreed to borrow $1 million for county schools and $250,000 to improve county fire departments, with the school board pledging to cover its debt.
County Fire Chief Jacky Reavley also pledged $10,200 per year toward the $27,600 finance cost for the fire department loan to reduce the financial impact on the county budget.
The school loan will be used to install an artificial turf surface for the high school football field, construct a track around the field and build a multipurpose building to support the high school's baseball and softball programs.
Commissioner Tom Smith questioned the step.
"Sooner or later we're going to have to stop," he said. "We can't keep on giving everything to the schools. It looks like we could work out something to not vote in a wheel tax. I can't see spending a million dollars on a football field."
Reavley told commissioners the fire department loan would be used to improve districts throughout the county in an effort to raise the insurance rating in rural areas. He said he would seek input from the County Technical Advisory Service to develop priorities for the money.
Tom Davis is based in Dayton. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.