McInturff: ‘We have to base this prioritization on which projects help the most people’

Published 11:35 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Carter County Health and Welfare Committee on Tuesday prioritized 13 ARP (American Rescue Plan) projects along with nine TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) projects to send to the Financial Management Committee.

With the prioritization, the Health and Welfare Committee completed its charge given by the Financial Management Committee to compile a list of projects from the community and to score each project with the intent of helping the most people with the funds received from the state.

“We have to base this prioritization on which projects help the most people,” said committee member Daniel McInturff. “A lot of people aren’t going to like the way we do that, but it’s the right thing to do.”

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The committee took each item and voted to either keep the project on the list or remove it from consideration, with the only item being removed was a request from the Blue Mountanya Regional Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $1,224,750. The project was submitted for consideration one day before the committee’s last meeting in May.

Commissioner Charles Von Cannon said that the project was only attempting to build its infrastructure to reap profits from the project.

The committee then took time to discuss the essential employees bonuses which originally had been proposed at $5,000 per employee.

After discussion, District 8 Commissioner Thomas Proffitt made the motion to approve a $4,000 bonus for the employees with the county paying the FICA taxes on the money, leaving the employees responsible for paying the federal taxes on the money. The committee voted 8-0 on approval of the motion.

The total of projects prioritized is $1.135 million more than the county’s ARP funding allocation.

“You are not responsible for finding ways to fund the projects,” county attorney Josh Hardin told the committee. “The only thing that you really need to do is to prioritize the projects and send those to Financial Management who will have to figure out how to fund the items and which ones get funded.”

The committee then made the following prioritization lists in regard to the ARP funding to present to Financial Management:
– Carter County /SkyLine/Skybest Fiber Based Internet – $2.5 million.
– Carter County First Responder’s Radio Communication – $3.7 million.
– Carter County Essential Employees Bonuses – $1.4 million
– Carter County Fire Departments – $750,000.
– Poga, Elk Mills Building, Fire Pumper – $500,000.
– Constables of Carter County – $48,000.
– Carter County 911 Mobile Ready Emergency Center – $47,375.
– Carter County Health Department – $127,700.
– Friends of the Animal Shelter Spay and Neuter Facility – $655,000.
– Carter County EMS Ambulance – $241,124.
– Shepard’s Inn – $77,426.75.
– United Way of East Tennessee Highlands in Carter County – $50,000.
– Danner’s Bridge and Blevins Hollow Bridge Replacements – $69,000.

Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby suggested taking the funds for the bridge replacements from the unassigned fund balance to free up that money for another project.

After completing the prioritization for the ARP funds, the committee voted to take the TDEC projects in order of the way they were listed based on Ken Rea’s recalculations for the TDEC funding.

The list is as follows:
– Carderview UD – $444,444
– Elizabethton – $2,000,000
– First UD – $1,500,000.
– Hampton UD – $963,785.
– Peters Hollow PWS – $152,225.
– Roan Mountain UD – $600,000.
– Siam UD – $700,000.
– S. Elizabethton UD – $1,000,000
– WRRWA – $700,000.