County Commission approves $150,000 for Hampton-Valley Forge VFD

Published 11:57 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com

The Carter County Commission approved $150,000 for the Hampton-Valley Forge Fire Department on Monday but not before some commissioners questioned why the same amount wasn’t approved for their districts.

Hampton-Valley Forge VFD Chief Chris Isaacs appeared before the December Budget Committee meeting to request the funds to speed up the opportunity to build a new station alongside the existing Valley Forge station. The new station will have four bays to hold two class A pumper trucks, one tanker/water tender, and a quick response truck,

The motion was brought to the floor by Budget Committee Chairman Austin Jaynes.

Commissioner Mark Blevins asked to make a friendly amendment to the motion.

“I know here several months back we gave Stoney Creek $25,000 on their new building and Valley Forge and Hampton $25,000 on their substation,” Blevins said. “I would like to set the same amount of $150,000 to cover Stoney Creek for their new building which they haven’t even started yet.”

In response to the amendment Jaynes said, “Mr. Blevins, I would like if they would come to Budget and have that request. The $25,000 that Hampton received was for a different building. If Stoney Creek would bring it through budget I would be more than happy to do that but if we do it this way it will open Pandora’s box. They just need to go through the process like Hampton-Valley Forge did in bringing their information to us.”

After more discussion, the commission voted 16-4 to approve and set aside the funds for the $150,000 that would either come from the ARP monies if applicable or from the unassigned fund balance.

Also, the commission heard from Marie Hodges from the Burbank area of Roan Mountain with a concern about not having a permanent emergency transport station in Roan Mountain.

“There are many winding roads and steep terrain to populated residential areas that take more time in the time of emergency,” Hodges said. “When you are visiting Roan Mountain if you have a head-on collision or hit an electric pole, or have a massive heart attack, no one can transport you because we don’t have a permanent emergency transport in Roan Mountain.”

Ms. Hodges said she has six pieces of property that she pays taxes on in Roan Mountain and felt that the Commission needed to budget appropriately to help Rescue Squad Director Terry Arnold with the funds needed to find the personnel to fully staff an emergency transport facility.

She implored the commission to do something because “a life wasn’t worth losing because there was no one to get them transported to a hospital in a timely manner.”

Other items of business approved were:
– An additional $26,357.13 to fund the final expense for the employee full-time and part-time Christmas bonuses with funding to come from Unassigned Fund Balance.
– Payments of 2.5% of the amount awarded for independently secured grant funds and 1.25% of the amount awarded for support of grant applications if completed in cooperation with (outside) agencies, with a retroactive date of January 1, 2021, not to exceed $5,000.00 per grant with funds allocated to Mayor’s Office bonus line. This would compensate Abby Frye, Mayor’s assistant, for work on securing grants for the county.
– Motion to appropriate $2,050.00 for a bonus payment related to grant funds secured by the Mayor’s office, with funding coming from the Unassigned Fund Balance for $83,000 in grant money received for Abby Frye’s work on the grants resulting in free money to the county.
– Monetary donations to the Animal Shelter in the amount of $1,030.