POA reviews Public Works fire damage

The Public Works building was destroyed last week by a fire.

The Tellico Village Property Owners Association Board of Directors learned Feb. 3 that damage from a fire early that morning at the Public Works building was extensive.

Winston Blazer, Tellico Village CEO, told the board the fire will impact operation of the Public Works Department.

Blazer said the “total loss” had already been filed with the Village’s insurance company.

“Being a total loss, we’re going to go for a complete recovery through our commercial insurance package,” he said. “Right now, we’re in the process of taking inventories, creating lists. The insurance company is in the process of evaluating the scene, doing its due diligence in paperwork and all. Once they have completed such investigations and normal routine, the Public Works Department will probably just raze the site, scrap the metal that’s available and carry the rest off to be dumped.”

Rick Blough, board president, asked Blazer to address the effects of the loss on the Village and residents.

Blazer said laptops used by the water and sewer department and meter-reading equipment were lost. He estimates about 300 meter readings were lost.

Residents could also see slight changes in billing schedules.

“We will have to go back and reread those meters,” Blazer said. “But first, we’ll have to go back and get new equipment expedited into us to allow for the reading. Then on the accounting cycle of things, that could cause somewhat of a different schedule in billing and so forth, but it’s so new right now. The event is so recent we do not know exactly how that will unfold. If there is a change or modification temporarily in your water and sewer billing, it is understandable, and it’s a result of this fire.”

Other items like “historical files of medium to lesser importance” were lost. All of the important files had previously been digitized, Blazer said.

He reassured the board and residents that the Village will recover and continue working, vowing to come out of the incident stronger than before.

The fuel docks are also temporarily down because of the fire. The board recently approved a capital project to install a new system.

“The gas docks — (Public Works) hosted the computer that fed that system or hosted that system,” Blazer said. “It is down. … I guess the new computerized gas dock system that we had planned this year will be moved to the head of the line now.”

Board objectives setBlough presented the board with the 2021 objectives after Blazer finished an update on COVID-19 operations.

The board has been working on identifying board objectives since Jan. 1, he said.

Five objectives were presented, each with assigned teams attached. Each team will present a work plan at the Feb. 17 board meeting.

Objective No. 1, led by Blough and board member Steve Schneider, stated the board will “continue with the action plan developed in 2020 for succession of the CEO position upon retirement of the incumbent on 12/31/22,” according to Blough’s presentation. Objective No. 2, led by Schneider and board member Bruce Johnson, will “continue development of the reserve funding and debt reduction strategies,” which is to be completed by Dec. 31.

The first two objectives are two-year objectives established in 2020, Blough said.

The last three objectives focus on communication, which is one of the board’s “truly important jobs,” Blough said.

Objective No. 3, led by board members Carla Johnson and Sue English-Kovar, aims to “enhance and expand communication strategies (including policies, platforms and distribution) to ensure accurate and consistent messaging throughout the organization,” to be completed by June 30.

Objective No. 4, led by Carla and board member Marty Inkrott, will “implement internal/external public relations and marketing strategies that increase community exposure and property owner satisfaction, enhance the Tellico Village brand and cultivate a positive community culture,” with a Sept. 1 deadline.

Objective No. 5, led by Carla, Inkrott and board member Pat White, intends to “develop an educational program for property owners to enhance their knowledge and understanding of Tellico Village’s history, operations, finances and relation to the larger community,” by June 30.

Blough said communication is a large focus for 2021.

“One of the things that we’ve noted over the last year is that there’s a lot of information that we have that we need you to have,” he said. “In fact, what we would propose to do to make sure that you have accurate information as opposed to what you sometimes read on ‘NextDoor,’ and pardon me for the shot.”