Loudon City Council took a big step forward April 15 on road paving, an issue that has been a hot-button topic dating back before the 2018 election.

Council voted unanimously to approve a bid from Duracap Asphalt to pave four city roads.

“This has been considered by the council for the last two months,” Ty Ross, city manager, said. “It has been workshopped repetitively and we made some revisions to it. I want to compliment public works director Ellis Scruggs for taking the initiative and going back and securing fresh quotes.”

Roads scheduled for paving are Carding Machine Road, Carter Street, Ward Avenue and Commerce Street.

Duracap Asphalt was low bidder at $476,399. Patty Construction Inc., and Rogers Group Inc., came in at $481,665 and $482,900, respectively.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jeff Harris, city mayor, said. “... That gives us — once Highland Avenue is finished — from (Highway) 72 to town, it will give you new pavement all the way.”

The only question on the bids was the timetable for work to begin. Both Patty Construction and Rogers Group could schedule paving for May. Duracap would be mid-June, Scruggs said.

“Duracap, there was some questions about whether we wanted to make an amendment to this fiscal year budget or put it in the next fiscal year,” Scruggs said. “They basically said they could do it either/or. If they had a commitment with us soon, they told me they could guarantee it be done by this year’s fiscal budget.”

Tim Brewster, city councilman, ran for office with paving as one of his top priorities.

Brewster made a motion and Johnny James seconded in accepting the bid from Duracap. The vote passed 5-0.

Personnel regulations updated

Council also voted to approve a sweep of changes to personnel rules and regulations after discussion during a workshop April 8 on easing the residency requirement for city employees.

Wording was added to that requirement — that employees live within Loudon County or the Loudon Utilities Board service areas — to include the sentence, “However, in circumstances where certain technical or managerial expertise is required, the city manager may approve for an employee to live within a normal commuting distance.”

The vote included updates to 14 policies, with 23 additional subsections within those policies.

“I want to commend Jason (Brown) and Ty,” Tammi Bivens, councilwoman, said. “You all worked hard on that. I talked with Jason tonight and they thoroughly went over it, and I’ve read through it and I think it looks very good. There’s always going to be something that comes up later that you think, ‘We should have put that in there, we should have worded that different.’ But I think you all did a good job.”

Bivens made a motion to accept the changes on first reading. James seconded.

The only hesitation came from Tim Dixon, who wanted assurance changes could be made in the future if necessary. When assured it could, he voted in favor.

“Our old one had been amended several times over several years,” Bivens said. “It’s a good time to start fresh. It’s not much different, it’s just worded a little cleaner.”

Council will vote on a second reading of the ordinance to accept the revisions in May.

In other business, council members:

• Approved on first reading an ordinance to approve amendment 10 to the intergovernmental agreement continuing the Planning and Community Development Department.

• Approved on first reading amendments to the 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

• Approved a resolution acknowledging the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System rate effective July 1, 2019.

• Approved surplus of a New Holland tractor and Diamond boom mower.