The Macon County Legislative Body met in regular session on Monday, May 20. In it, several minutes of discussion were devoted to the Hwy 10 renovation project.
County Mayor Shelvy Linville placed a resolution before the commissioners requesting that T-DOT complete the renovation project more urgently. The land acquisitions for the project have already been funded by TDOT, and this phase of the project is currently underway. Until it is completed, funds cannot be allocated for the construction phase of the project.
Last month, TN Governor Haslam and Commissioner John Shroer released a three-year program outline for TN highway projects. The construction phase of Hwy 10 was not listed.
Resolution #74-5/2013, which was passed, describes the 1.7 miles of road, cites “numerous injury accidents and many fatalities” that have occurred there, and says that the project has been discussed for years, “only to have promises turn into disappointments.” It also declares that the three-year transportation project plan “concentrates mostly on high volume traffic as opposed to safety.”
Linville wrote a letter last week to Commissioner Schroer, copying to area legislators and Governor Haslam.
He received a return letter from Schroer, saying that this project was still early in the appraisal and acquisitions stage. He also explained that new federal legislation (MAP-21) had shifted funding, and the TN National Highway System now has a greatly reduced budget.
“I can certainly appreciate your interest in this project,” he continued, “but please understand that the department has identified needs on our highway system that far exceed our available revenues. It is a department priority to allocate our funds throughout the state to assure an equal distribution to all Tennesseans. SR-10 is a committed project, and I assure you that as we prepare future budgets, funding for the construction phase of SR-10 will be given every consideration in relation to the needs on a statewide basis.”
Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Kelly Keisling will host a public meeting on Thursday, May 23 at the Macon County Chamber of Commerce in Lafayette to discuss this issue. Present to answer questions will be TDOT’s Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer Paul Degges.
Other items covered in Monday’s Committee meeting of the Whole:
The following notaries public were elected: Joseph Cook, Anita Alleman, Georgia Ferguson, Angie Stafford, Lisa Gentry, and Crystal Carver.
Budget Amendments were passed for the following line items: Animal Control, Landfill, Sheriff Department, Sexual Offender Registry, Trustee, Library, General Fund (notes issued).
Proclamations 69-5 (Emergency Medical Services Week), 70-5 (Emergency Services for Children Star of Life Award, recognizing EMS employees who received award for excellent response in Jan 2012 incident), and 75-5 (Hospital Week) were passed.
Resolutions 71-5 (OSHA Resolution), 72-5 (Stroke Prevention Resolution), and 74-5 (Highway 10 Resolution) were passed.
Resolution 73-5 was passed, authorizing a reappraisal plan for county land parcels and homes. Assessor of Property Rick Shoulders explained to the commissioners that many counties were changing policies so that properties are assessed every 5 years instead of every 6 years. This resolution did just that for Macon County. Resolution 76-5 authorized the Sheriff to apply for a TDOT Trash Collecting Grant, and made him administrator of funds if the grant should be acquired.
Resolution 50-10, the Hotel/Motel Private Act, which would have put a 5% hotel-motel tax into effect in Macon County, failed. This act came before the commissioners last October and passed with the required 2/3rd vote, then went to legislature for Private Act, and needed one more 2/3rds vote from the county. It passed the Commission of the Whole vote taken on May 6th, and then failed on Monday by one vote. 13 voted yes, and 6 voted no; one voter was absent.
Mayor Linville said that the act would have brought about $20,000 income into the general fund each year. “Last year in our budget meetings, we were trying to think of different avenues to bring in revenue, instead of putting it all on property owners,” he said. “What I don’t really understand… most people who come and stay in our hotels/motels, are gonna be out of county people. So that’s not a tax on your local people, I don’t understand the opposition of it to be honest with you.”
The commissioners authorized to advertise for bids for construction materials to be used for concession stand and bathrooms for the Recreational Softball Program. The Recreation Soccer Program has been asked to submit a list needed materials for a similar project.
Form CT-0253 Debt Obligation was approved.
The EMS Quarterly Report was approved.
Road Supervisor Audie Cook had been asked at the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 6 to look into road conditions on Blue Sky Circle and consider adding the road to the County road list. Cook reported on road conditions, and commissioners were reminded that they’d designated a specific period of time each year to approve new roads for the County list, in November-December. The motion to add this road was tabled until that time.
County Attorney Guy Holliman then addressed the commissioners on Mark Bartley vs. Macon County Sheriff Department, and Macon County, TN, a lawsuit that a former Sheriff Dept. employee is pursuing against the County. The suit has to do with overtime pay that Bartley claims he is owed. Holliman briefly mentioned the highlights of the case, when it might go to court, what kind of money may be involved, etc. A closed, private meeting for commissioners is scheduled for June 17 to discuss the suit further.