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Bristol, Tenn., spent $5.4 million on private vendors, contractors in 2018

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — In 2018, the city of Bristol, Tennessee, paid private vendors and contractors a total of $5.4 million, with nearly a quarter of that money used to purchase properties needed for the new middle school.

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Copies of 1099 forms obtained by the Bristol Herald Courier through a public records request to the city shows that last year the city spent nearly $1.4 million, the second largest sum on the tax forms, to buy 16 properties on behalf of Bristol Tennessee City Schools.

The bulk of money paid in 2018, nearly 73%, was compensation for goods and services from nonemployees, 25% was listed for attorney fees, but was actually for property purchases, and the remaining 2% for rent and health care.

Tara Musick, director of finance, said that level of spending is normal and though the city doesn’t always pay the same vendors or buy the same things every year, she was not aware of any unusual purchases.

Bristol, Tenn., payments to vendors

Property buying

A.D. Jones Jr., a city municipal judge and private attorney, was hired by the Bristol Tennessee Board of Education to work as a closing attorney and perform the title purchases of properties that will be torn down to make room for the middle school. A total of $1.4 million was paid by the city to Jones for the properties. City Attorney Danielle Smith said the city handed off the money to Jones on behalf of the school district and he held onto it until the property titles were transferred to the school district and the sellers could be paid.

The amount reported in the city’s 1099 forms only includes the cost of 16 properties that were acquired in 2018. Three properties were acquired prior to 2018, another was bought in January and the last was acquired in February through eminent domain so demolition could begin this spring.

The properties are being razed so construction of the estimated 154,000-square-foot school can begin. The new school is needed to replace the aging Vance Middle School, which was not designed to meet modern educational needs and has failing insulation and air conditioning systems.

The future middle school, which does not yet have an official name, is expected to be completed in time for the 2021-22 school year. The current estimated total cost is $32.6 million.

Wastewater management

The city contracts a private company, Inframark, to manage and operate its wastewater facility. The payments the city made in 2018 to Inframark were about $2.3 million, the largest sum made to any vendor. Musick said this arrangement saves the city from having to allocate its own resources to oversee day-to-day operations of the plant.

The plant is jointly owned by both Bristol cities, and Bristol, Virginia, pays a comparable sum, Musick said.

Senior programming

Terry Napier, director of parks and recreation, said the number of seniors, which he defined as people over 50 years old, is growing and one of the goals of the Parks and Recreation Department is to provide for their physical, emotional and social needs.

Catering for senior events was among payments the city made in 2018, with $3,600 going to the Burger Bar.

Napier said the Parks and Recreation Department pays upfront for food, transportation and other costs associated with senior events and participants are charged to make up the cost, plus a little extra to cover some operation costs.

“We plan the event and whatever that meal charge is or that specific charge, we charge the participant,” Napier said.

In addition, the department also uses grant funding to help pay for programs and resources that support these programs, such as a bus to take seniors on trips. Other funding for the department comes from fees charged to non-residents for use of the Slater Center, either through direct payments or the Silver Sneakers program offered through Medicare. He said before it requests funding in the city budget the department needs to show the city how it is going to pay for events.

“We are so frugal with what we do with every penny,” Napier said.

The Burger Bar is just one of the local vendors used for catering, Napier added, and the decisions of who will cater is partly based on cost and partly on feedback from event attendees.

Property rehab

Bristol, Tennessee is the lead entity in the Northeast Tennessee and Virginia HOME Consortium, which also includes Bristol, Virginia, Bluff City, Kingsport, Johnson City, Sullivan County and Washington County, Tennessee. Because of its lead role, the city is generally responsible for handling expenses related to one of the consortium’s roles of rehabilitating and rebuilding homes that have fallen into disrepair and qualify under the program

However, the city is not paying out of pocket for home rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. All the money is reimbursed to the city through grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Christina Blevins, community development specialist for the city, said the process of selecting a construction company to rehab or rebuild a home, is determined through a bidding process. Moffitt Construction made the most money fixing up homes in 2018 at $222,000, but it was not the only construction company to do so.

Bristol Tennessee 2018 1099 records

Name City State Payment Account # Type
A. D. Jones Jr. PLLC Bristol TN 1354945.63 10608 Gross proceeds paid to an attorney
Gordon Group Investment Limited PA Nashville TN 473012.69 8754 Nonemployee compensation
Carehere LLC Brentwood TN 338919.25 11092 Nonemployee compensation
Water Holding Acquisition LLC Katy TX 2,265,662.76 11491 Nonemployee compensation
Moffitt Construction Johnson City TN 222150 11402 Nonemployee compensation
Philip Walker Nashville TN 67685 11538 Nonemployee compensation
Maudlin & Jenkins LLC Atlanta GA 62649.7 10096 Nonemployee compensation
CCGS Holdings LLC Canonburg PA 53945.13 5860 Rents
Ecological Energy Leasing LLC Bristol TN 52298.24 10114 Nonemployee compensation
Alex Perry Gray TN 37866.31 10815 Nonemployee compensation
McDonogh LLC York PA 26425.08 11080 Rents
Denise R. Bourne Bristol TN 23710 10016 Nonemployee compensation
Data Driven LLC Memphis TN 23181 10183 Nonemployee compensation
Jimmy Terry Jr. Bristol TN 22750 10175 Nonemployee compensation
Farmers Construction Damascus VA 20161.2 11521 Nonemployee compensation
Caudill Hill Ventures Abingdon VA 19469.11 9749 Rents
John Holt Bristol VA 18035.95 9602 Nonemployee compensation
Click Ridge Partners LLC Johnson City TN 17144 11463 Nonemployee compensation
Seam Group LLC Indianapolis IN 13700 11640 Nonemployee compensation
APG-East LLC Greeneville TN 11180 11539 Nonemployee compensation
Kurt Kummer Bristol TN 10748.42 8036 Nonemployee compensation
David Taylor Bluff City TN 10525.51 8730 Nonemployee compensation
South East Mowing LLC Blountville TN 10000 11569 Nonemployee compensation
Affenix LLC Knoxville TN 9980.06 11418 Nonemployee compensation
Eddie L. Allison Bristol TN 9712.59 151 Nonemployee compensation
Michael J. Morris Middletown CT 9300 10783 Nonemployee compensation
Patsy T. Fields Blountville TN 9213.32 9935 Nonemployee compensation
Playbox Technology USA LLC Atlanta GA 8942.4 10302 Nonemployee compensation
Steve Williamson Bristol TN 7265.35 4429 Nonemployee compensation
Lisa Sneed Bristol VA 7150 10078 Nonemployee compensation
Jack Dunham Jr. Bristol TN 6775 9756 Nonemployee compensation
Charles Lee Backus III Johnson City TN 6500 8585 Medical and health care payments
Lark Pouchet Adams Bristol TN 6440 9870 Nonemployee compensation
City Center LLC Bristol TN 6357.15 10418 Rents
Bert White Design Bristol TN 6297 8458 Nonemployee compensation
Wesley Alan Minga Blountville TN 6031.49 10967 Nonemployee compensation
Heather Dotterweich Bristol TN 5565 10422 Nonemployee compensation
Dolores Champagne Bristol VA 5307.5 4866 Nonemployee compensation
Hunter, Smith & Davis LLP Kingsport TN 5100 3354 Nonemployee compensation
McCollum Bottled Water LLC Blountville TN 5065.62 4259 Nonemployee compensation
Angela Karen Lawson Greeneville TN 4925 10773 Nonemployee compensation
Doris Jean Crusenberry Bristol TN 4820 3430 Nonemployee compensation
Caracal Enterprises LLC Petaluma CA 4795.73 10527 Nonemployee compensation
Alexa Serfis Bristol VA 4410 11020 Nonemployee compensation
William H Geiger II Bristol TN 4110 11546 Nonemployee compensation
Sheridan Kaley Nichols Johnson City TN 3900 9463 Nonemployee compensation
A+ Plumbing Bristol TN 3721.91 8025 Nonemployee compensation
Bernard Goliday Jr. Bristol VA 3640 9873 Nonemployee compensation
Burger Bar LLC Bristol VA 3604.5 11516 Nonemployee compensation
Levy Premium Food Service Bristol TN 3599.1 7131 Nonemployee compensation
Mark Freeman Architecture PLLC Kingsport TN 3550 4463 Nonemployee compensation
Troy Rutledge Bluff City TN 3315.75 9325 Nonemployee compensation
JR Crowder Plumbing & H2O Services Bristol VA 3300 11676 Nonemployee compensation
Eric Eiler Blountville TN 3287.5 10912 Nonemployee compensation
Paul W. Moss Bristol VA 3271.4 10805 Nonemployee compensation
Warren Thacker Johnson City TN 3150 9747 Nonemployee compensation
Dennis G. Hall Bristol VA 3119.16 11621 Nonemployee compensation
B. Wayne Lanthorn PHD Kingsport TN 2940 10425 Medical and health care payments
Carl Otey Bristol TN 2770 9765 Nonemployee compensation
Steven C. Lapointe Boone NC 2755 8630 Nonemployee compensation
Thomas Vance Bristol TN 2738.81 9607 Nonemployee compensation
Slagle Exterminating LLC Bristol TN 2700 452 Nonemployee compensation
Bass Berry & Sims PLC Nashville TN 2673 6764 Nonemployee compensation
Sharon Elaine Rock Bristol VA 2625 10564 Nonemployee compensation
Mark L. Collins Greeneville TN 2614 11009 Rents
Jared Kreiss Bristol TN 2250 11510 Nonemployee compensation
Matt Thompson Nashville TN 2250 11472 Nonemployee compensation
Carl E. Pierce Bristol TN 2150 2396 Nonemployee compensation
Ralph E. Cheek Jr. Bristol TN 2141.64 8961 Nonemployee compensation
Xavus Solutions LLC Boston MA 2070 10242 Nonemployee compensation
Maggie Lauren Fuller Bristol TN 2065 10787 Nonemployee compensation
Stowaway Storage of Morristown Johnson City TN 2043.14 11152 Rents
DTN LLC Omaha NE 2040 11551 Nonemployee compensation
Robert E. Smith Bristol TN 2040 11346 Nonemployee compensation
John Henry Rankins Blountville TN 2001 7948 Nonemployee compensation
Daniel A. Morgan Suwanee GA 2000 11471 Nonemployee compensation
Ferguson Animal Hospital Bristol TN 1821.12 6331 Medical and health care payments
Paul McMurray Blountville TN 1736 6351 Nonemployee compensation
Central Wrecker and Spring Serv Johnson City TN 1704.5 9973 Nonemployee compensation
William Earl Neikirk Watauga TN 1700 10476 Nonemployee compensation
Bristol Racquet & Fitness Club, LL Bristol TN 1658 11686 Rents
James Anthony Prichett Joelton TN 1650 11473 Nonemployee compensation
Rollen A. Ross Kingsport TN 1600 3276 Nonemployee compensation
Janice Chafin Bristol TN 1582.5 9933 Nonemployee compensation
Taffie G Barb Bristol TN 1580 10009 Nonemployee compensation
Bristol Tool Bristol TN 1567.4 8979 Nonemployee compensation
Lisa Martin Bristol TN 1539 11019 Nonemployee compensation
Brett A. Morey Bristol TN 1537 11568 Nonemployee compensation
Michael D. Dixon Bristol TN 1525 2510 Nonemployee compensation
Allison Outdoor Advertising LTD Sylva NC 1500 10942 Nonemployee compensation
John Boyd Bristol VA 1450 7511 Nonemployee compensation
John P. Kennedy Jr. Bristol TN 1440 10112 Nonemployee compensation
Revenue Assurance Prof LLC Memphis TN 1405.59 6705 Nonemployee compensation
Michael F. Mech Bristol TN 1354 9827 Nonemployee compensation
Beth M. Leonard Bristol TN 1328 5719 Nonemployee compensation
Wellmont Health System Charlotte NC 1275 10582 Medical and health care payments
Caudill Hill Ventures LLC Abingdon VA 1164.73 9749 Nonemployee compensation
Whites Roofing Bristol TN 1140 4971 Nonemployee compensation
Johnny D. Kerr Salisbury NC 1060 11264 Nonemployee compensation
Weaver Pike Utility District Bristol TN 1020 4317 Nonemployee compensation
Frank Perry Jr. Bluff City TN 1000 10609 Nonemployee compensation
Douglas K. Smith Jr. Bristol VA 1000 11655 Nonemployee compensation
Baseline Sports Construction LLC Knoxville TN 950 10055 Nonemployee compensation
Sandae Kennedy Bristol VA 924.6 11653 Nonemployee compensation
Business Information Systems Piney Flats TN 900 11376 Nonemployee compensation
Joey L. Tipton Johnson City TN 889 11119 Nonemployee compensation
Sesac Nashville TN 833 3644 Nonemployee compensation
OHD LLLP Hoover AL 810 11503 Nonemployee compensation
Randy M. Kennedy Bristol TN 734.5 11389 Nonemployee compensation
Joshua Wilson Bristol VA 700 11191 Nonemployee compensation
B & L Collision and Towing LLC Blountville TN 676.3 11464 Nonemployee compensation
Louise D. Stoker Bramwell WV 650 9681 Nonemployee compensation
Night Moves Mobile DJs Bristol TN 600 11483 Nonemployee compensation

Clinical care

The city operates its own health clinic, where city employees can receive primary care, disease management and lab work at no cost. In 2018, the city paid $339,000 to Carehere to operate the clinic and $26,425 to McDonogh for the lease on the clinic building.

Mary Lee Williams, director of administration, said the goal of the clinic, which opened in January 2017, is to save the city money on health care for its employees and provide more accessible, inexpensive and convenient access to care. She said the city hopes to drive down insurance costs by providing a high level of care that should reduce health risks for employees overall and because the clinic doesn’t have the overhead for receptionists and other positions that a privately owned doctor’s office does.

Williams said information isn’t currently available on whether the city saved money through the clinic in 2018, although there will be a presentation at City Council’s work session on June 25 to show 2018 outcomes.

Solar power spending

The city allows Ecological Energy Leasing to have solar panels at the city demolition landfill, on the condition that it gets a kickback on some of the energy generated. Because the solar panels generate energy for the power grid, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services keeps track of this generated energy and the city receives a credit on its account. Through its deal with Ecological Energy Leasing, the city gets to keep part of the credit with the remainder going to Ecological Energy Leasing.

The payments made by the city to Ecological Energy Leasing are not payments for a service, but are instead the city passing along the company’s share of profits generated by the solar panels. In 2018, the amount it passed on was $52,000.

Police equipment

The city spent $38,000 on apparel, accessories and tools from TruBlu Tactical Police Supply in Johnson City for employees at the Bristol Tennessee Police Department. A report acquired by the Bristol Herald Courier through a Freedom of Information request shows that the city made 101 separate purchases from TruBlu in 2018 for items that included uniforms, shorts, body armor, trauma sheers, holsters and handcuff cases.

Police Department Capt. Walter Brown said this level of spending is typical in a year to make sure police equipment and uniforms are in good condition and to provide gear and apparel for new officers.

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