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Carter County Commission holds August meeting via ZOOM

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
The Carter County Commission held their August meeting via ZOOM on Monday evening. 
 
Among the first items addressed was in relation to the animal shelter. Shannon Posada, director of the shelter, joined the virtual meeting to discuss a Community/Feral Cat Program being offered from the APCA of Asheville.
 
In this program, which is for Carter County residents only, community/feral cats are able to be spayed or neutered, ear ripped, and vaccinated for rabies at no charge.
 
To transport these cats, which would need to be brought in by residents in live traps, Posada asked the commission to grant permission for use of the Taylor/Delawder Estate van that had been donated.
 
After discussions over the number of trips, the differences between community cats and feral cats, and the involvement of waivers, the commission voted to approve. 
 
A resolution to honor the life of Truman Clark and his service to the citizens of Carter County was among resolutions presented. Details about Clark were presented in the resolution.
 
He was born on February 227, 1937 in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and was a graduate of Elizabethton High School, received training as a Certified Public Administrator at the University of Tennessee, and was part owner of Clark Lumber Company for over twenty years.
 
He served his country in the United States Army and was a retired Captain in the Reserves.
 
He was a member of the Carter County Board of Commissioners for one term and as County Executive (Mayor) for five terms from 1982-2002. He passed on July 10, 2020.
 
Clark’s two sons were in attendance for the meeting. The vote was unanimous with commissioners sharing words of praise for him as well.
 
A resolution commemorating the ratification of the 19th Amendment was presented. This was unanimously approved with Commissioner Ginger Holdren expressing gratitude for the consideration. Commissioner Robert Acuff showed appreciation for Holdren in bringing it to the attention of Health and Wellness. 
 
A conference system was discussed and approved by the commission. Commissioner Gary Bailey explained the system, which serves for group meetings.
 
The goal behind the system is to aid audio and lagging for future meetings with the commission. It cost around 3,600 dollars. The motion was approved. 
 
Following votes on budget amendments, Commissioner Ross Garland opened the floor for discussion on the Planning Department’s Budget.
 
The full commission approved the whole county budget last month. After a heated discussion, it was decided that they would send the Planning Department’s budget back to the Planning Committee for another look as it was unclear what it looked like at the time of approval.
 
This will not affect what was submitted. 
 
The 7th District Commission vacancy is to be filled at the November election. Interested parties are asked to pick up qualifying paperwork at the Election Office and get an approved signature petition.
 
This is to be done by lunchtime this Thursday. 
 
Mayor Rusty Barnett spoke on updates and appointed Bobby McNeil to the 911 Board. He is the retired 911 director from Johnson City. This was approved. 
 
Among announcements by Commissioner Acuff were updates on the Homelessness Task Force. He announced that the Elizabethton City Council approved the resolution and Mike Simerly has been appointed as the city representative.
 
In a discussion from the Department of Solid Waste, a motion regarding increasing the tipping fee per ton, the percentage cost per living, and cost per bag were presented.
 
Discussions over Blue Ridge, one of the Landfill’s largest customers and their desire to not sign a contract, were up for debate. After discussions back and forth over a compromise, Commissioner Bailey proposed making the tipping fee per ton 42.50 dollars for everyone, except those under contract like the City of Elizabethton.
 
This same contract would be presented to Blue Ridge. It would take place on Oct. 1, 2020. The majority voted yes. 
 
Among final motions included one by Commissioner Acuff. Acuff asked that the county attorney meet with both Brad Burke, director of the Finance Department and Chris Schuettler, director of Planning and Zoning, separately and then together to iron out their differences so they could better work together.
 
This motion was also passed.