Last Thursday during the Blount County Commission work session, Chairman Chris Green closed the meeting with the announcement he was postponing his early retirement. “In the last few weeks there have been several developments,” he said. “One is the knowledge of our federal funding that will be coming down and the potential impact those funds can have.
“The jail project is not yet complete, and I would like to see that project through. And we have this opportunity now with the possibility of a $1 million dollar grant to move forward with the project in Cleveland. I would like to see it move forward.
“It has been a hard year; it has been a very difficult year. But the potential is here to have a very good year ahead of us.”
The commission reconvened yesterday to vote on several key items. Commissioners Allen Armstrong, Nick Washburn, and Chad Trammell were present as was Green. While much of the agenda dealt with routine items and issues, the commission did address the future of the Frank Green Building now that DHR has moved to its new facility.
The consensus among Green and the commissioners present was to prepare a memorandum of understanding to present to the Blount County Board of Education. The move would provide the board with much needed space and parking while taking a lot of the financial burden of maintaining the facility off the county. The two entities will continue discussions.
Green reported to the commissioners that a solution to fix the fiber optic and electrical issues at Swann Bridge had presented itself over the weekend. He said he had been approached by a gentleman who owns a company that has the expertise and equipment to provide the underground boring needed so electrical and fiber could be done right.
“Charlie Reece has RBM Underground and he has offered to do this for the county at no cost to us,” Green said. “All we would have to provide is the wire, which will run around $8,400. And Charlie said he would also help our guys pull the wire.”
Armstrong, Trammel, and Washburn were in agreement that if the project were to be paid, it would cost the county upwards of $100,000.
“I appreciate his willingness to use his own time and his own talents to help the county with this project,” Green said.
In other business, the commission:
• passed Resolution 2021-04-01 declaring April 11-17, 2021, as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in Blount County.
• reappointed Swanee Carver and Arthur Self to the Solid Waste Authority.
• approved budget amendments.
• approved sale of Asset 7558 New Holland Tractor (D1) to the Town of Hayden in the amount of $12,000.
• approved and authorized chairman to execute agreement with Mobile Communications America for weather warning siren maintenance at a cost of $1,600 per year to be paid from EMA budget.
Before adjourning Green reminded everyone of the county-wide spring cleanup April 16 to April 26. He also encouraged personal responsibility regarding the wearing of masks in the continued fight against COVID-19 and reminded the public that social distancing requirements remain in place per the Safer Apart State Health Order. Further, pursuant to federal requirements, he said the Transportation Program will continue to require the wearing of masks for its participants.
The next commission work session is 9 a.m. Thursday, May 6, with the business meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 11.