County Commission to tackle full agenda at Monday meeting

Published 6:45 pm Sunday, October 16, 2016

Carter County Commission Logoi

When the Carter County Commission meets on Monday evening the members will have several items of business to take care of.
One of the items on the agenda is approving an Interagency Contract for fire suppression services with the Butler Volunteer Fire Department.
The proposal for the interagency agreement was brought up during the 2016-17 budget process by the Carter County Volunteer Firefighters Association.
In May, the Volunteer Firefighters Association approached the budget committee with the request for funding to work out an agreement between the county and Butler Volunteer Fire Department to provide better fire protection for residents in a portion of Carter County that borders Watauga Lake and is accessible only by driving into Johnson County in Butler and then driving back into Carter County.
Currently that area is served by the Elk Mills Volunteer Fire Department with assistance from the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department and a mutual aid agreement with the Butler Volunteer Fire Department. The proposal from the CCVFA would be to work out an interagency agreement with the Butler Volunteer Fire Department so that agency would become the primary responder to fires within the specified area.
Jason Shaw, of the CCVFA, told
the Budget Committee in May this would improve the fire protection for those residents and could also lead to a lower cost of insurance on those properties.
The full County Commission approved providing $20,000 in
funds to the Butler Volunteer Fire Department, but placed those funds in reserve until the an agreement could be drafted and passed.
Members of the Commission will also have the chance to consider several requested adjustments to the county’s annual budget that have been approved by the Budget Committee.
The largest change requested comes from Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey on behalf of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter. Humphrey told the Budget Committee that a recent review of the shelter’s operations revealed deficiencies in funding and additional money would have to be allocated in order for the shelter to operate properly.
The Budget Committee approved a budget amendment increasing the Animal Shelter budget by $163,056.59 with the
City of Elizabethton contributing half of the increased cost. The meeting packet provided to commissioners for them to review before the meeting notes that Humphrey “will be presenting a slightly altered request after meeting with the City.”
The Carter County Landfill, working alongside the Carter County Highway Department, requested additional funding from the Budget Committee for the county to purchase land in order to widen a dangerous area of Minton Hollow Road.
The Budget Committee approved a motion to take up to $38,000 from the county’s Gener al Fund Balance to purchase the land in order to make the safety improvements.
The Financial Management Committee presented a request to the Budget Committee asking them to reconsider raising the salary for Carter County Emergency Management Agency Di- rector Gary Smith.
During the budget process, the Budget Committee and ultimately the full Commission approved additional funding for raises to several salaried supervisor positions in order to remain in compliance with a new federal law regarding overtime pay and exemption status. The new U.S. Department of Labor ruling set the overtime exempt salary level at $47,476.
When the raises were being considered, Carter County Finance Director Christa Byrd told the Budget Committee that because the EMA Director position is classified as a “first responder” the position does not qualify for over time exemption. The committee at that time decided not to increase Smith’s salary, which is currently $32,781.43 per year.
Members of the Budget Committee reviewed Smith’s salary again as requested by the Financial Management Committee and voted to set the EMA Director Salary at $47,476. With the additional costs to the salary, social security, retirement and other expenses the increase will require $19,116.57 in additional funding to be taken from the county’s General Fund Balance.
The Budget Committee also approved a motion to transfer
$2,000 from the county’s General
Fund Balance to pay the Elizabethton/ Carter County Chamber of Commerce to participate in the Keep America Beautiful Program. The release of the funds will be pending a matching contribution from the City of Elizabethton.
In other business:
Commissioners will also vote on approving an annual contract with Carter County 911 to provide 911 emergency dispatching services along with addressing and mapping GIS service.
Commissioners will con sider a resolution granting the Carter County Sheriff, or their designee, the authority to allow a full time sheriff or deputy sheriff to retain his or her service weapon and badge upon retirement in recognition of many years of good and faithful service.
Commissioners will consider a resolution in recognition of National Adoption Day and pro- claiming the week of Nov. 13-20 as Adoption Awareness Week in Carter County.
The Carter County Commission will meet on Monday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. in the courtroom on the second floor of the Carter County Courthouse.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox