Commission changes supervision for county shop employees, adds quarterly night work sessions

In a relatively brief monthly meeting Monday, the Blount County Commission passed unanimously five significant motions governing county business, and dealt with the usual array of routine items.

(1) The commission changed the reporting arrangement for county shop employees. Previously reporting to the county engineer, the shop function and its three employees will now report to District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert. Calvert said the reason for the change is to determine from the use of more detailed time reporting sheets whether sufficient time is available for the shop to take on maintenance and repair of sheriff’s department vehicles. That change could possibly save the county money, Calvert said.

(2) The commission approved holding one evening work session meeting each quarter. District 3 Commissioner Waymon Pitts, who introduced the motion, said its purpose is to permit citizens to attend the meeting who can’t ordinarily attend the regular morning work sessions because they are themselves at work. Pitts told The Blount Countian
he will recommend that the first such meeting be held in March and every third month thereafter.

(3) The commission accepted Gov. Bob Riley’s proclamation certifying the results of the constitutional amendment by which municipalities lying entirely outside Blount County are prohibited from imposing any municipal tax ordinance or other regulations affecting police jurisdictions located in Blount County. The amendment passed on Nov. 2 by a vote of 11,411 to 3509. The proclamation certifies the results of the election and gives the amendment the force of law. The law would prohibit any municipal ordinance like the one passed by Warrior last December imposing sales taxes in its Blount County police jurisdiction.

A similar amendment applying to municipalities located partially inside Blount County also passed overwhelmingly on Nov. 2. However, the town of County Line filed suit asking that the amendment be declared void, arguing that citizens of County Line who are not residents of Blount County were not, but should have been, allowed to vote on the matter. Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick, in whose jurisdiction the suit was filed, ruled that the results not be certified until his court decides on the merits of the County Line suit. A hearing on the merits is set for Wednesday, Dec. 15.

(4) The commission authorized county attorney Tom Prickett to request an opinion from the state attorney general as to whether municipalities that tax and/or exercise traffic control within their police jurisdictions are required to maintain the roads in those jurisdictions; and to determine further if they are required to provide other services within those jurisdictions, and if so, what services are required

(5) The commission approved writing a letter of support to the state Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding the agency’s plans to work on state roads 160 and 79 at their intersection in Cleveland. The agency plans to add a right turn lane on 160 as it approaches the intersection westbound from Cleveland providing a designated turn lane for traffic turning north on 79, and a left turn lane on 79 as it approaches the intersection in a southboard direction, permitting a designated turn lane toward U.S 231 in old downtown Cleveland. In addition to supporting the DOT plan, the commission voted to request the agency consider adding two additional left turn lanes: one on 79 as it approaches the intersection from the direction of Locust Fork, permitting a designated turn lane toward Nectar, and one on 160 as it approaches the intersection from Cleveland, providing a designated turn lane toward Locust Fork.

In other actions, the commission:

•accepted a $15,000 donation from the district attorney to purchase a new vehicle for the sheriff’s department for use by the animal control officer.

•approved the 2011 holiday schedule (see boxed insert).

•authorized District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert to remove a deteriorated shed at the District 3 shop and to remove old, downed fencing surrounding that shop area.

•authorized the county administrator to solicit bids to replace security fencing and gate at District 3 shop.

•authorized the county administrator to negotiate new copier contracts for county commission , probate and sheriff’s offices, and authorized the commission chairman to sign them.

•authorized the county administrator to take over control and financial mangement of scrap materials at all county district and commission locations.

•authorized commissioners to adjust county road crew employee work schedules as needed.

•approved family medical leave absence for a sheriff’s department employee.

•approved an agreement with the town of Locust Fork for annual road maintenance, including updated fees.

Blount County 2011 Holiday Schedule
New Year’s Day (holiday for Dec. 31, 2010) Sat., Jan. 1, 2011
Martin Luther King Jr. birthday Mon., Jan. 17, 2011
Robert E. Lee birthday
President’s Day Mon., Feb. 21, 2011
Confederate Memorial Day Mon., April 25, 2011
National Memorial Day Mon.,May 30, 2011
Jefferson Davis Birthday Mon., June 6, 2011
Independence Day Mon., July 4, 2011
Labor Day Mon., Sept. 5, 2011
Columbus Day Mon., Oct. 10, 2011
Veterans Day Fri., Nov. 11, 2011
Thanksgiving Day Thurs., Nov. 24, 2011
Fri., Nov. 25, 2011
Christmas Day Fri., Dec. 23, 2011
Mon., Dec. 26, 2011