Snead to consider support for ambulance advisory committee

Continuing his visits to local municipal governments, Blount County 911 director Caleb Branch sought the endorsement of the Snead Town Council for his agency’s proposed ambulance advisory committee. He reiterated the points made in other presentations that the 911 board has legislative responsibility for monitoring ambulance service.

In synopsis, the plan calls for a nine-member, county-wide board to write specifications for acceptable service, award an exclusive contract to one provider, and hold that provider responsible for meeting the requirements. The board may fine the provider for failure to perform, or even cancel its contract for service if violations prove too egregious.

Snead Mayor La’Shone Price quizzed Branch on some points and expressed his interest in having an ambulance station in the town. Branch explained that his board compiles calls from areas of the county and can provide that to any interested. He speculated that any provider would likely study such a record to determine where he might locate stations.

Digressing from the advisory committee matter, Branch reported Snead police chief Alan Hicks had asked of a possible camera to cover the Snead cross roads intersection. Branch said he had held conversations with Tyson about possible use of their tower for mounting such and revealed the likely coverage area for one set at that location. The town would cover costs and maintenance of the camera.

He advised the council of the purchase of a sophisticated drone purchased with funds from the sheriff’s department, 911, and from contributions by volunteering municipalities. Asked by town clerk Rae Ware of his requested Snead contribution, Branch emphasized the town had no obligation to donate and that such would truly be voluntary.

Related to Hicks and camera issues, the chief thanked the council for purchase of body cameras for his officers and explained that he was charging the cameras as the council met. He also reported his anticipation of cruiser camera installations on May 1. In response to questioning by Price, Hicks confirmed that the department now has enough cameras for all personnel on every shift.

Following Branch’s presentation, Lee Ridge Drive resident Ben Osborne addressed the council. He said he had understood there had been some question of ownership of the drive. He offered documentation that developer Terry Stover had deeded the road to the town and the public. Osborne also asked had the council pursued the residents’ requests made at the past council meeting to examine alternatives for repair on the drive.

Price said he had spoken with various citizens and had driven the road which is in bad condition. The mayor asked, without receiving a clear answer, if Osborne and other residents were in possession of town road requirements for its acceptance of any road.

In other actions, the council approved, pending a satisfactory background check and physical, the addition of Shawn Gergory to the town’s volunteer fire department. Members designated Price as their voting delegate to the annual League of Municipalities convention for May 20-23, delayed action on the ambulance advisory request for further review, authorized printing and mailing of the annually required water quality report to town customers, accepted Ware’s suggestion to extend to May 12 the use of a litter control dumpster for the annual April clean-up period, and approved Ware’s attendance at a continuing education seminar. Ware also reminded councilors of the May 1 deadline for filing their statements of economic interests required by the state.

Councilman Tim Kent missed the April 24 meeting, attended by other councilors Phillip McHan, Greg Ogles, Dale Snead, Ann Sullins and Mayor Price. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.