The first meeting of the new year for the Board of Commissioners started off with unfinished business concerning the acceptance and payment to EADS for work on the new radio system. All 18 Commissioners were present as the Emergency Services Committee recommended paying the final payment of $210,000 on the Zetron console for the new digital emergency services radio system. This payment constitutes 10% of the contract. The vote passed 16-2 with Brian Houston and Charles Seiber voting against on the resolution.
Several routine resolutions were passed including appointing Dana L. Carter to the Tri-County Industrial Development Board of Cumberland, Morgan, and RoaneCounties with the term expiring January 18, 2017. Next, the Board unanimously approved changing the normal meeting hour from 7:00 PM to 6:00 PM each month beginning in February. If you plan on attending a meeting, please note the new time.
Other resolutions were unanimously passed including one to add a booking and processing fee as a condition of arrest to the person being charged with a criminal offense within CumberlandCounty. The resolution authorizes the Sheriff to charge a fee of $10 for the booking and processing of each person subject to arrest or criminal summons. In other action, Janet Dowlen was appointed as the liaison for CumberlandCounty to the Cumberland Water Resources Habitat Conservation Plan (Cumberland HCP) and Larry Allen was appointed to the Boar of Appeals for the Residential Building Codes with the term expiring January 17, 2015.
A resolution was passed 14-4 creating regulations for ambulance services in CumberlandCounty. The regulations establish guidelines that will guarantee a level of service required to operate in our county. I am in the process of obtaining the final version of the document and will post it on my website when I get it.
The next item, a resolution sponsored by Carmin Lynch and passed by the Building and Grounds Committee, was to void the stage naming rights agreement with Spirit Broadband. The agreement was created in August of 2010 after the CountyAttorney and County Mayor Hill worked with Spirit Broadband to lease naming rights to the amphitheater that is being built next to the new library. The naming rights were to be leased in consideration of $23,000 in payments to finish construction. During the time preceding the agreement, the Building and Grounds Committee gave Mayor Hill the authority to get the amphitheater built as long as it did not cost the County any money. The reasons, in part, that were given to void the agreement were that the CountyCommission did not approve the agreement, that a bid process was not used, and that the funds were not passed through the Finance Department. According to Spirit Broadband, funds in excess of the original agreement have already been expended on the project and the amphitheater is almost complete. While no one would argue in retrospect that the agreement was handled exactly as it should have been, in my opinion the Building and Grounds Committee moved forward too quickly and with only a partial solution. According to the CountyAttorney, the agreement language and process could be cleaned up by meeting with and coming to a mutual understanding between the County and Spirit Broadband. At this point, in my opinion, this is the only practical solution. To simply move to void the contract has the potential to cost the county significantly more money in legal fees, etc. In my opinion, the common sense solution is to talk with Spirit Broadband and work out an agreement. A motion was made to do just that by requesting Mayor Carey, County Attorney Randall Boston, and a representative of Spirit Broadband to get together and work out the details and bring back a new agreement. The motion passed 14-4 with Brian Houston, Harry Sabine, Nancy Hyder, Robert Safdie, David Hassler, Johnny Presley, Charles Seiber, Joe Koester, Jan McNeil, Larry Allen, Jeff Brown, Sonya Rimmer, Clyde Cramer and me voting in favor. Terry Carter, Mike Harvel, Roy Turner and Carmin Lynch did not agree to the motion. My hope is that commons sense will prevail and that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
A resolution to provide funds to purchase salt spreading equipment and salt to maintain the parking lots of the county facilities was unanimously approved. The Building and Grounds Committee recommended approval, and the full Commission approved a total amount not to exceed $2,000 with money coming from the proceeds in the Delinquent Tax Fund.
We finished the night by unanimously appointing Danny Franklin Cantwell, William Benton Threet, Ronny E. Marquess, Herbert L. Blevins, Robert W. Collester, III, Lee A. Kaffenbarger, and Jerry L. Mifflin as Judicial Commissioners for CumberlandCounty, for four year terms beginning January 24, 2011 and ending January 24, 2015.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you on the Board of Commissioners, and I thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. More information is available on my website at http://allenfoster.net. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to contact me.