New security arrangements set for courthouse, Family Service Center

County administrator Ralph Mitchell reported Tuesday to the commission that new security procedures are being implemented for the courthouse and the Family Service Center, following meetings with District Judge Sherry Burns, himself, and Sheriff Loyd Arrington. Beginning immediately, a sheriff’s deputy will be assisgned to the juvenile court at the Family Service Center one day a week at Burns’s request.

The deputy will leave his normal post at the courthouse each Friday in order to cover the juvenile court. To cover the vacated courthouse position, a new parttime deputy will be assigned to courthouse duty on that day. Deputies on security duty at both locations will be equipped with taser guns and will be trained to use them.

Sheriff Arrington explained that tasers, while rarely needed, are the weapon of choice from time to time, citing one recent incident when a 260-pound 17- year-old became violent during a juvenile court session and had to be restrained by three deputies.

Tasers are not considered lethal weapons, he said, and may be safer in the long run for both the juvenile and law enforcement personnel than violent physical restraint occasionally needed. He said the district judge had requested additional security be provided following the incident, though he didn’t say she requested tasers.

Asked when the new security arrangements would go into effect, Arrington answered with one word: “Now.”

The commission also approved a resolution to add additional homes in the county to the project area for installation of new fire hydrants. The county had received a 2009 CDBG grant to install about 50 hydrants, mainly in the central and northwest areas of the county.

In other actions, the commission:

•approved the mailing of bids for purchase of six patrol cars, for which the sheriff’s department will provide specifications.

•declared as surplus scrap metal accumulated by District 4 and authorized the county administrator to take bids.

•postponed action on appointing a member to the Alabama Mountain Lakes board of directors to fill the expiring term of Cason Capps; no candidates have yet been identified.

•approved fourth quarter budget amendments.

Engineering reports

At the recommendation of the county engineer, the commission:

•approved Timber Ridge Subdivision Sector Two, 11 lots off Oscar Bradford Road in District 1, developed by Sunshine Village Mobile Home Community, LLC

•approved request from John Payne to accept Emmaus Road (0.21 mile) in Horizons Subdivision, releasing the $1500 bond to Donnie Hicks.

•approved request from Jeremiah Homebuilders, LLC for an additional one-year extension to submit the final p[lat for Green Meadows Subdivision Phase 2, 38 lots off Hayes Cemetery Road in District 1.

•approved renewing letter of credit for developer Stacy Rawls for Haley Hills Sector 2 in District 1 provided the new letter of credit be excuted on the county’s letter of credit form and that it have no expiration date.

•approved the release of $1000 bond to Evergreen Forestry as requested by District 2 Commissioner Robert Bullard; road was deemed to have been restored to ”acceptable shape” following logging operations, according to Spraggins.

Last hurrah

Retiring commissioners Ryan and Cochran spoke to the public for the last time in their capacities as county commissioners.

Ryan noted that running for the job turned out to be “the worst personal mistake I ever made” from the standpoint of his livelihood, but that his goal had been throughout his term to “leave Blount County better than I found it.”

“I served eight years and never stole one dime from Blount County,” he said, adding that every decision he made was to benefit the people of the county, a sentiment echoed by colleague Waymon Pitts, moments later.

Cochran was uncharacteristically – and eloquently – brief: “I’ve only got two words on the last eight years. Some of you may know where they come from, some of you not,” he said, then paused. “It’s finished,” he concluded quietly. “Thank you”.

Commissioners attending Tuesday’s meeting were Cochran, Ryan, Pitts, and Commission Chairman David Standridge. Commissioner Robert Bullard was absent due to illness.

The next commission business meeting is Wednesday Nov. 10 at 1 p.m., following the swearing in of new commissioners at 12:01 p.m. There will be no work session for November.