County Health Department finds half of money it needs for renovations
Published 9:06 am Thursday, June 18, 2015
Some much-needed remodeling work at the Carter County Health Department is one step closer to reality thanks to some unexpected funding from the state.
For several months, the Health Department has been working on a project to create more space to allow it to better serve clients.
In January, the Commission approved a measure to allow the Health Department to hire an architect to draw up designs for the renovations.
The base estimate bid for the repairs came in at $870,000, Carter County Health Department Director Caroline Hurt told members of the Carter County Commission on Monday.
“That is shooting for the moon with what we want,” she said.
Two of the biggest issues the current health department facility was facing were drainage problems on the property and overcrowding in offices and clinic space.
For the past few months, the Health Department has been working with the Highway Department and the Sheriff’s Department to correct the drainage issue.
On Monday morning, Hurt said she received an exciting phone call from the Tennessee Department of Health that might not make the project out of reach after all.
“We have the ability to get special needs funding in the amount of $450,000 toward this project,” she said. “That is 52 percent of the total funding. This never happens.”
To secure the funding from the state, all the county has to do is allow County Mayor Leon Humphrey to submit a formal letter of request, Hurt said.
The funds do not require a match by the county, but rather a commitment that the county will act in good faith to secure the remaining money for the project, Hurt said, adding there is no deadline on using the money.
“On special needs funding there is not a time limit on when the funds must be expended,” she said.
During the County Commission meeting on Monday, Humphrey said he had already reached out to several agencies and individuals about the possibility of obtaining grant money to fund the remaining 48 percent of the project – including the Applachian Regional Commission, the First Tennessee Development District and State Sen. Rusty Crowe.
“It’s very promising,” Humphrey said, adding that it could also be a lengthy process in obtaining the grants. “Realistically we could put this project out for bid in Fall of next year or possibly Spring of the year after.”
Members of the Commission voted 23-1 to allow Humphrey to send the formal request to the state for the special needs funding. Commissioner L. C. Tester cast the only opposing vote.