Members of the County Commission elected Jerry Ford as their new chairman during Monday night’s meeting.
Ford, who represents District 3, is a longtime member of the Commission and replaces Mark Beeler, who opted not to seek re-election this year.
“I don’t intend to do things much differently,” Ford told commissioners while praising the job Beeler had done leading the previous Commission.
Commissioners also returned Bill Fergusson to the role of chairman pro tempore.
The county’s various committees were also reformed and urged to meet soon to choose chairmen and other officers. Those committees are: Audit, Budget & Finance, Charter Review, Communications, Codes & Zoning, Economic Development, Education Oversight, Emergency Services & Planning, Employee/Personnel, Executive, Insurance, Law Enforcement, Parks & Recreation, Prison Oversight, Professional Services Selection, Purchasing Oversight and Solid Waste.
Justin Freeman, a senior at TCHS, was chosen as the student representative to the County Commission for the 2018-19 school year.
Commissioners also approved on second reading policies for the Animal Control Board and the county’s shelter. Those were approved by a 19-1 vote, with Ken Buckmaster voting no.
Among those policies are: dogs must be brought to the shelter, unclaimed dogs will be available for adoption after five days, boarding costs of $20 per day (not to exceed a total of $200), $50 for rabies vaccinations of an owner cannot show proof of vaccination and up to $30 for other medical attention.
In his first report as county mayor, Stephen Chambers updated commissioners on the Streetscape project for Main Street, needed repairs to an old landfill and work that has been requested for the Little League fields.
Chambers said the Streetscape project is moving forward but will have to change slightly from initial plans. Moving electric lines underground along Main Street, which was part of the original design, could cost as much as $1 million, according to the mayor and is not likely, as Tri-County Electric would have to absorb that cost.
“That’s just not a cost they can absorb,” Chambers said. “They’re looking at alternatives and working with the engineers.”
Chambers said he was also looking into proposals to preserve downtown parking, something he mentioned previously to The Vidette.
Chambers said the county was working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to determine what fixes need to be made to an old landfill off Gammons Lane. State inspectors previously found contaminated water and other leakage at the site, which has been close for over 30 years.
No estimates are available yet as to what cleanup would cost, but Chambers said there were state grants that could potentially help.
Some of the light poles at the Little League fields need replacing, but Little League regulations call for metal poles with certain lighting that could cost as much as $23,000 per pole, Chambers said. The Parks & Recreation Committee will likely examine future needs.
Three notaries were approved: Christina Borders, Lisa Rodriguez and Rita Crowder. The County Commission will hold its next meeting on Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]