It was a heavy agenda and the swearing in of a new commissioner, but most attendees were there to see the result of the CCA/Trousdale County contract Monday night.
Trousdale County Commissioners were presented with two contracts concerning the new prison. One was an agreement with the state of Tennessee to operate a prison in Trousdale, that would be called the Trousdale County Correction Facility. The other was a management contract with CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and Trousdale County.
"Management contract steps in for Trousdale County," said County Attorney Betty Lou Taylor. "It does the hiring, the firing, making sure there is insurance, staffing, medical and whatever needs to be done, they are there to do it.
"They are to humanify Trousdale County. If anything goes wrong, they [CCA] have to stand behind us because they humanify us."
Taylor added of the two contracts, the management agreement with CCA was the important one to her since the county is small and would struggle to "operate a facility that big."
She also offered her opinion to any commissioners that might be waiving.
"I have heard a lot of talk about people saying, 'Surely we could get something better than a prison?' There is nothing around here right now since they took the sewing factories away and we don't have car dealerships anymore, so we had to go broader.
"Our commission and citizens around here have looked and looked for industry. We don't have good access…including countywide internet. Still the prison wanted us, and to me, if you approve this, this is going to the greatest day in Trousdale County history."
Taylor continued, "You don't have to like the product, but I hope you do, because their prisons are run excellently. Keep in mind our tax rate, which everybody is always complaining about the tax rate, especially me, this is going to solve that problem.
"I wouldn't embarrass myself or my family by standing up here and asking you to 'pass' on this, because we aren't going to get another opportunity like this. If we don't take it, Smith County will."
Commissioner John Oliver of District 2 added, "I have lived in Trousdale County for 40 years, and I'm probably one of the oldest people on the commission. Every time we have an election for commissioners, they always run on the platform that they are going to bring jobs to our county or bring growth to Trousdale County.
"All we have basically done is lose jobs and industries. This is finally a good opportunity for us, and I'm all for it partially since it is in my district."
Oliver also added, "I will say that I had a few people come to complain to me because they didn't want to live next to a prison, but I told them, 'If we don't approve this, they can go two miles down the road to Smith County. You will still live next to a prison, but we won't get a dime of it.' It makes all the sense in the world to approve this tonight."
With 17 commissioners present, Robert Thurman joining in via teleconference and James Chambers and Mark White absent, the commission approved both the contract with the Tennessee Department of Corrections and CCA.
The following items were also up for vote by the commissioners:
• The commission sworn-in Andy Jellison for the District 6 after voting unanimously for his nomination. Former Commissioner Tammy Jackson stepped down last month since she had moved into another district.
• Ordinance 99-2014-6 to amend Article II, Section 2.020 and Article V, Section 5.044 thru 5.046 of the zoning resolution to provide essential services was approved for second reading. The motion was made by District 10 Commissioner Wayne Brown, and seconded by District 1 Commissioner David Nollner.
• Ordinance 100-2014-7 to amend Article 7.060 of the zoning resolution of Trousdale County and and Article VI, Section 6.060 of the zoning resolution of Hartsville to add language for utility lots was approved for second reading. The motion was made by Nollner and seconded by District 4 Commissioner Don Coker.
• Ordinance 101-2014-8 to amend Article IV and Article V, Sections 5.041 thru 5.046 of the zoning resolution of Trousdale County and Article V, Sections 5.041 thru 5.071 of the zoning ordinance of Hartsville to establish standards for telecommunications antennas, towers, etc., was approved for second reading. Motion was made by Nollner, and seconded by District 8 Commissioner Bubba Gregory.
• Ordinance 102-2014-9 to amend sections of the Hartsville/Trousdale County Metropolitan Government personnel policies concerning travel expenses and new hires was approved for second reading. Motion was made by Brown, and seconded by District 7 Commissioner James McDonald.
• Resolution 2014-14-343 to add three road names to the official road name list to assist emergency workers. The roads will not be maintained by the county. The roads Meadow Lane (Walnut Grove Road), Clift Lane (Puryears Bend Road), and Inman Lane (Highway 10) was approved. Motion was made by District 6 Commissioner Carol Pruitt, and seconded by Oliver.
• Resolution 2014-15-344 to authorize the county mayor to award bids for capital projects and equipment for General Services, Urban Services, Solid Waste and Ambulance Service Departments after the Tennessee Comptroller's Office wanted a more clarified chain of command of items and projects over $10,000 was approved. Motion was made by District 10 Commissioner Steve Burrow, and seconded by Oliver.
• Resolution 2014-16-345 to authorize the Public Works director to proceed with site development, planning and bids using a compactor system at the convenience center was approved. Motion was made by Nollner, and seconded by District 7 Commissioner Freddie Banks. Chairman Mark Beeler added that with this approval, Clift Sallee could begin the process of adding a compactor to next year's department budget.
• Resolution 2014-17-346 to set the holiday closing schedule for the convenience center for Jan. 1, July 4, Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 25 was approved. Beeler added that the commission asks Sallee to revisit this in a year to see if solid waste department might need to follow the county employees holiday schedule in the future if the center is not being used on other holidays. Motion was made by Pruitt, and seconded by District 9 Commissioner Richard R. Johnson.
• The commission approved a resolution to increase the pay of future commissioners to $50 instead of $20 for commission meetings; $20 instead of $10 for committee meetings; and if a commissioner is serving as chairman, additional $50. The pay would not start until Sept. 1, 2014. Motion was made by Burrow, and seconded by Nollner. Brown did ask for a roll call vote, but Beeler said since no money was being spent tonight, commissioners would be doing a roll call vote on this matter during the budget hearings in June.
• Resolution 2014-18-347 allows Trousdale County to submit a litter grant application to continue funding for 2014-15 was approved. The application is presented every year to the commission. Motion was made by District 8 Commissioner Bill Fergusson, and seconded by Nollner.
• Resolution 2014-19-348 to adopt the memorandum of understanding between Four Lake Regional Industrial Development Authority and Hartsville/Trousdale County Metropolitan Government concerning economic and.or community development was approved. Motion was made by Nollner, and seconded by Banks.
• Resolution 2014-20-349 to declare 10 old voting machines from the Election Commission's office as surplus for disposal was approved. Motion was made by Nollner, and seconded by Banks.
• Commissioners approved Certificate of Compliance of Retail Package stores by Keith Roddy, Hartsville Liquor; and Shane Burton, CrossCreek Liquors. Motion was made by Brown, and seconded by Gregory.
The commission approved the following budget amendments: insurance payout of $6,718 for the damaged playground equipment at Trey Park; transfer of $1,903 from one account to another in the Highway Department's budget; and added $13,085.64 for the bonus payment line item in the Highway Department's budget. The commission combined all amendments to be voted at one time. Motion was made by Nollner, and seconded by Brown.
Trousdale County Commission will meet for its May meeting on Tuesday, May 27, at 7 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the county courthouse. The meeting was moved from its normal meeting date due to the Memorial Day holiday.
Managing Editor Marie Corhern can be reached at 615-374-3556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.