The monthly County Commission meeting was held on Monday, November 19th at 6:00 PM with all Commissioners present. Several routine resolutions were passed during the short meeting, including the acceptance of the Hazard Mitigation Plan that has been put together by County agencies. The plan provides a strategy to reduce risks to both people and property during natural hazard events in the county and has been approved by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This plan should be available for viewing in the CountyMayor’s office. A resolution was also passed reallocating funds to help with moving the Veterans Services office from the current rundown location behind the Courthouse into the bottom floor of the Courthouse. This should be a better location for the workers as well as the veterans seeking services.
The Big South Fork Visitors’ Center project is continuing forward. At this point, TDOT approval has been granted for the updated proposal and it is out for bid. The bid opening is scheduled for 2 PM on December 18th at the Courthouse.
Fire Department Paging and Repeater System
In a tight vote resulting in a tie breaking vote cast by the CountyMayor, increased funding for the CountyFire Department’s paging system was approved. You may recall from earlier articles that the system must be updated to comply with new FCC regulations. There has been a lot of discussion on this system in the past months, mostly centered around if the system should be expandable or not. Although some on the commission do not recall, the original discussion was for a three site system due to the fact that there is poor coverage in parts of the county, particularly in the west. The three site system was said to be in the $300,000 price range and not financially viable for the county all at once. The official request for the project was made for $125,000 for a single site replacement system, but only $100,000 was allocated in hopes that bids might be lower. After bids were received and changes made to how some work would be performed, the final cost came in at $120,000. During discussion over funding the additional cost, some commissioners said they were upset about spending for an expandable system when we were replacing a single site system and felt that they had approved to bid a non-expandable system. Expandable verses non-expandable systems were never discussed in the full Commission meeting when the resolution was passed to fund the project. Although a non-expandable system would be approximately half the cost of the expandable system, almost none of the system would be usable if expansion is approved. If we are going to have a Fire Department, we must provide the tools necessary to be effective. I voted to approve the funds along with Hyder, Koester, McNeil, Allen, Carter, Turner, Brown, and Kinnunen. Voting against was Houston, Sabine, Safdie, Hassler, Presley, Seiber, Harvel, Rimmer, and Lynch. After the tie vote, the CountyMayor cast a vote in favor that passed the resolution.
A second resolution concerning the new FCC regulations was also passed. Funds in the amount of $12,000 were passed for replacement of the Fire Department’s repeater system as well as for reprogramming of existing devices. This will also allow the county to keep the frequencies associated with this equipment. The resolution was passed 13-5 with Presley, Seiber, Harvel, Rimmer and Lynch voting against.
Art Circle Public Library Foundation
The Art Circle Public Library Foundation was the recipient of a very generous donation of over $100,000 recently. J. Draper Keisling made the donation for the general expenses and upkeep of the Library. The Commission unanimously approved the pass through of these funds. I want to express my personal appreciation to the Keisling family for their generosity to our community.
Your feedback is important to me. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. Thank you for allowing me to serve the 4th District and Cumberland County.
Board of Commissioners
4th District Representative