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Carter County Commission holds October meeting

The Carter County Commission held their October meeting via ZOOM on Monday evening.
As the meeting began, a resolution was presented to the board to honor the late Mayor Barnett who passed away last month. 
The resolution detailed the life of Mayor Barnett and his service to the citizens of Carter County. In addition to calling for the board to honor his life and service, the resolution also called for the dedication of the Fire/EMS Substation in Butler to be named after the late mayor. 
The resolution was passed, and the substation will be known as the Mayor Rusty Barnett Memorial Substation.
Later in the meeting, during the Budget Committee report, a motion to appropriate 52,500 dollars from the Governor’s Support Grant to provide funds to seven volunteer fire departments was presented. Funds would be allocated to the departments based on the number of calls each has responded to. 
In discussing the motion, the board called for potentially setting a minimum amount each station would get, as well as including the city and Butler into the plan. It was ultimately decided that the original motion to use funds would be approved, and the Budget Committee would decide how to disperse from there.
While no date has been set, following the passing of the resolution to honor Mayor Barnett, there were discussions of holding a ribbon cutting ceremony with his family and representatives from the fire departments present. These fire department representatives would receive the check donations from the Governor’s Support Grant funding. 
The Budget Committee reports captivated the meeting with various motions. 
One of these motions called to leave the Planning Department’s 2021 Budget unchanged. Commissioner Mark Blevins inquired that this motion was proposing giving the director a $2500 raise. This was the case. After the reasoning behind this was explained, Blevins expressed his dislike of the motion in relation to fairness of others in the department. Commissioner Gary Bailey also had questions pertaining to this motion. The motion was ultimately tabled until next month. 
Another motion to spark discussion under the Budget Committee’s report fell to the Recycling Center. The motion called to appropriate $402,898.48 from the General Unassigned Balance to purchase a new baler for the Recycling Center. This included installation fees. 
Discussions were begun by Commissioner Mike Hill.
“I motion to table this issue until next month and send it back to the Landfill Committee to be brought out as a proper business proposal instead of a request for a gift to the Landfill Department,” said Hill. 
Hill explained that this motion just describing the item planning to be purchased without the inclusion of projections, plans, etc. is not a proper business case. 
This discussion continued with Bailey explaining how the purchase is a win/win for everyone involved. 
“If we buy the baler, Lyons is producing the cardboard and bringing in more money,” he said. “If we don’t buy it, cardboard is going to the landfill, which is costing us more money.”
After several more discussions, the board voted to pass the motion, with all but two voting in favor. 
Under the Health and Welfare report, Acuff presented the latest updates to Broadband research, noting that the meetings that have been held have aided in getting a scope of the needs. Potential partnerships are also becoming clearer as well as work with schools to compile information.
Acuff and Shannon Posada, director of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter, spoke during the Animal Shelter Committee report. On Oct. 29, a socially distanced meeting will be held at the Courthouse to discuss issues surrounding Animal Control, etc. 
In the Mayoral Report, Interim Mayor Patty Woodby discussed the latest updates in the county and also praised how early voting has turned out so far. She also acknowledged a spike in COVID-19 cases in Carter County. 
 Before the meeting ended, suggestions and discussions were held regarding the upcoming meeting next month for Mayor. While no changes were made, some suggestions focused on submitting questions and protocol for safety from COVID-19.