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Rockwood TVA money put in special fund

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By Cindy Simpson

Rockwood is making sure there is no appearance of impropriety when it comes to its use of the leftover TVA money from the Roane County Economic Development Foundation.

The city received its most recent request of $716,805 on April 11.

“They have been put in a special account,” Mayor James Watts told council recently.

City officials previously caught some flack when Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas did not immediately receive its portion of TVA money designated for water and sewer projects.

The city has slowly been paying the utility back those funds.

City officials plan to use the latest TVA funds for lighting at a soccer field at Mike Brillo Miller Sports Complex, a fishing pier and paving the cart lanes at Rockwood Golf Course.

“We will be in the process of submitting bids on our cart paths out there,” said Coun-cilman Bill Thompson recently.

They have also been able to save money toward a rainy-day fund despite pinching pennies.

Records show the city transfered $125,000 at the end of February and another $50,000 in March to the fund.

Rockwood City Recorder Becky Ruppe said she cannot pinpoint exactly what the city is doing differently in its ability to do this.

“All I know is where we are now,” Ruppe said.

“All I know is we aren’t paying any penalties. We have the $80,000 that was payroll penalties. We had the $20,000 Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.”

She said the city is even making the payments when it can to Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas.

Ruppe also reported the city has spent less than previous years in most departments.

“I think the purchase order system has gotten a lot of spending under control,” she said.

The city also has more revenue coming into its coffers.

“Sales tax was up compared to what it was last year,” Ruppe said.

Add to that the increase in property tax last fiscal year from 75 cents per $100 valuation to 90 cents per $100 valuation.

The city collected $837, 324 in property taxes and penalties in March 2012, compared to this year’s $855,652.