County Commission to consider several items during Monday meeting

Published 10:13 pm Friday, August 18, 2017

When members of the Carter County Commission meet on Monday, they will debate several proposals on the agenda.

Among the items on tap for the meeting are a proposed lease agreement to install an ATM inside the courthouse, authorizing application for a site development grant, a resolution to request a donation of land from the state for the creation of a public park, and a resolution to downsize the number of commissioners from 24 to 16.

An agreement was drafted between Carter County and Northeast Community Credit Union to install an ATM in the main courthouse. According to county officials, having an ATM in the courthouse will help assist the offices in serving citizens.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The agreement was signed by NCCU President/CEO Teresa Arnold on August 11 and needs Commission approval to allow Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey to sign the agreement on behalf of the county.

As part of the state’s Rural Economic Development fund, Tennessee is investing $10 Million in site development grants to aid eligible communities in getting sites “shovel ready” to attract new businesses and industries. Once awarded, the grants will require matching funds based on what the county’s classification is.

The deadline to apply for the grants is Dec. 1, 2017. Humphrey is seeking Commission approval to apply for grant funding under the program on behalf of the county.

Carter County and the City of Elizabethton are working together on a joint effort to obtain a land donation from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to create a multi-sport park.

There is currently a vacant parcel of property owned by TDOT bordering U.S. Highway 321 and Powder Branch Road near Happy Valley High School.

According to the proposed resolution, TDOT has no use or potential use of the property, and given it’s location and lack of access to Highway 321 “it seems unlikely that it is suitable for any purpose other than use as a public park.”

The property also borders the Taylor Family Cemetery, which is the final resting place of Gen. Nathaniel Taylor, a soldier of the War of 1812 and founder of one of the County’s most well-known families, which includes two former Tennessee governors. According to the resolution, turning the property into a park would help provide increased protection,  security, and access to the cemetery.

If passed, the resolution will request the county’s elected representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly to take action to seek the donation of the property.

Commissioners will also consider a resolution which would reduce their numbers. Currently, the Commission is comprised of 24 members — three for each of the county’s eight districts.

Under the proposed resolution, that number would be reduced by a third, leaving 16 members — two for each of the eight districts.

Some controversy has surrounded the measure with regards to whether or not the Commission can take such action outside of a reapportionment year.

Carter County Attorney Joshua Hardin advised the Rules and Bylaws Committee against pursuing downsizing at this time based on his interpretation of state law. The Committee passed the measure on a vote of 7-1 to send it to the full Commission.

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey has vocally advocated for commissioners to pass the measure, saying he has found nothing in state law that “specifically prohibits” downsizing outside of a reapportionment year by amending the County’s redistricting/reapportionment plan of 2011.

The Carter County Commission will meet on Monday, August 21, at 6 p.m. in the courtroom located on the second floor of the Carter County Courthouse.