Commission approves seeking ADECA grant for complex in Cleveland

Blount County Commission

On March 29, the Blount County Commission held a special called meeting to consider Resolution 2021-03-01 for ADECA Community Development Block Grant to request funding for the proposed agriculture, education, and economic development complex in Cleveland. A public hearing followed by the passage of a resolution is required by ADECA for the request of these funds. The public hearing was held March 9 following the commission’s monthly business meeting.

Before the commission approved the resolution, chairman Chris Green explained that there is a $500,000 cap on community block grants, but counties can ask for more. The county plans to request $1 million for the project. The application deadline is April 1. After some discussion, the commission unanimously passed the resolution.

Also on the agenda was further discussion of the possible purchase of a Caterpillar RM300 reclaimer through Thompson Tractor. The discussion was carried over from the bid opening March 4. Acceptance of the bid was contingent on a successful demonstration of the reclaimer.

Prior to Monday’s meeting, Thompson Tractor had given the commissioners a demonstration. Commissioner Allen Armstrong said the demonstration was “successful” and the reclaimer “surpassed my expectations.” Commissioner Chad Trammell echoed Armstrong’s sentiments. However, commissioner Nick Washburn was hesitant to purchase the road reclaimer and requested time to search for something less expensive.

Following discussion that involved Brett Richards, a representative of Thompson Tractor, county attorneys suggested the commission go into executive session in order to negotiate. Once the executive session concluded, Green met privately with Richards to further negotiate the purchase agreement.

In the end, the Blount County Commission approve the purchase of the 2017 road reclaimer with the addition of a one-year extended warranty, which will include all electronic components along with the powertrain warranty.

The commission will hold their regular monthly work session on Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m., followed by their monthly business meeting Tuesday, April 13, at 9 a.m.