Local News Articles

Aldermen Vote to Return Richard Jennings to the Police Department

August 23, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Lieutenant Richard Jennings has got his job back.

By a vote of 3 to 2 Monday night, the Board of Aldermen, following a lengthy hearing, overturned the termination of Jennings.

Alderman Willie Thomas made a motion that Jennings be returned to the police department with "full pay". Alderman Jerry Hutchins', Sr. seconded the motion. Alderman Tonya Sullivan joined Thomas and Hutchins in voting to reinstate Jennings, but aldermen Cecil Burger and Steve White voted to uphold the firing.

After the vote, Mayor Taft Hendrixson called for a recess, which was approved by the aldermen. Hendrixson left the meeting room and went down stairs, apparently to ponder casting a veto. But when he returned later and called the meeting back into session, Mayor Hendrixson stated that he would not veto the board's decision, which was met with applause from members of the audience.

Lieutenant Jennings was accused of removing weapons, inventory files, ammunition, and other items from the police department, some of which were allegedly found in his personal possession.

On Friday, August 3rd, Jennings was placed on suspension with pay pending termination, following an internal police department investigation, and Thursday afternoon, August 9th, the case against him was presented to the city's discipline hearing authority, which is made up of Mayor Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Cecil Burger, and City Recorder Burnace Vandergriff. After hearing the evidence, the vote was 3 to 0 to terminate Jennings.

Jennings waived his right to appear before the three member discipline board and sent word through his attorney, Adam Parrish, that he would appeal his case to the entire board of mayor and aldermen, which had the final say.

As the hearing began Monday night, Police Chief Tom Stufano read a lengthy prepared statement describing in detail the allegations against Jennings, including alleged violations of Smithville Police Department Policies and Procedures in failing to take proper care of city equipment, or theft of city property.

The specific allegations included the removal without authorization of (1) AR-15 machine gun and (3) concussion hand grenades and a 14 inch tactical shotgun from the department armory which were found in (Jennings) personal possession (personal vehicle, personal residence).; removal of Smithville Police Department Official Inventory files, inclusive of dates April 20th, 2007- July 29th, 2007.; and removal and personal possession of miscellaneous items depicted on Smithville Police Department Evidence Receipts 3044-3051 to include: (905) rounds of .223 ammunition, (97) shotgun rounds (various calibers), H&K parts, tools and (1) machine gun streamlight laser/flashlight from the Smithville Police Department.

During the internal investigation, Jennings apparently returned the weapons and ammunition, but according to Chief Stufano's statement, "He has yet to bring back any inventory control files from his residence inclusive of the dates April 20th, 2007 to July 28th, 2007 during his tenure as the agency's inventory control Supervisor. As a result of his unauthorized and prohibited actions the city and Police Department have incurred unnecessary expenses in having to contract a certified auditing team to complete an inventory of the department's assets."

Stufano would not address allegations against Jennings of possible state and federal law violations, citing an on-going investigation, the results of which may be presented to the December term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

Parrish, who questioned Stufano throughout the hearing Monday night, told WJLE after the meeting that Jennings was authorized to have these items, insisting that he was issued them a few years ago and that the authorization had not been rescinded. "They attacked his integrity, they attacked his honesty. It was always an attempt to discredit him. The board has heard the evidence and voted correctly. To me, the biggest issue was that he always had permission to have these items. As a matter of fact, they issued them to him and at no time did they ever rescind that authorization for him to have them."

In a prepared statement to WJLE, Alderman Sullivan explained her vote to overturn the termination, saying "The evidence was conclusive that Mr. Jennings was certified to operate named equipment. He acted as an armour during his time employed. Weapons assigned to an officer is the responsibility of that officer."

"The policy and procedure manual is inconclusive of job descriptions and proper care of said items and there was no directive to inventory equipment at the time of Stufano's employment. The items were returned and charges of theft were unfounded in accordance to the evidence presented."

Later in the meeting, Faye Fuqua praised Jennings and presented a petition to the Mayor and Aldermen signed by some 200 persons in support of him.

Nude Swimmer Arrested on Drug Charges

August 23, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a nude swimmer at Center Hill Lake Sunday after officers saw him trying to get rid of some drugs while getting dressed.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 30 year old Scotty Farmer of Sykes Road, Hickman was arrested at Long Branch Boat Ramp near Center Hill Dam. Upon the deputies' arrival, Farmer and his friends were found swimming without any clothes on. Farmer came out of the water and put his pants on and the deputy noticed Farmer had thrown something in the lake. The officer quickly recovered the package and found pills believed to be Percocets. Farmer was charged with possession of a schedule III drug (Percocets) and fabricating/tampering with evidence. Bond is set at $6,000 and his court date is September 20th.

Meanwhile, in other cases, 21 year old Jason Sturdivant of Page Drive Smithville was arrested on Friday after officers received a call about a suspicious vehicle on Willis McGinnis Road. Sturdivant had no identification on him and gave his brothers name as his own to the deputy. The officer later learned Sturdivant's real name and charged Sturdivant with driving on a suspended drivers license and criminal impersonation. His bond is set at $3,500 and his court date is September 20th.

50 year old Jane Hall of William Boles Road, Hilham Tennessee was arrested Saturday on Highway 56 North. Hall was seen by a deputy weaving across the centerline. Hall's speech was slurred and after the deputy administered field sobriety tasks, she was arrested for DUI. Bond is set at $1,500 and her court date is September 20th.

Also on Saturday, 35 year old Tammy Currie of Circle Drive Dowelltown was charged with burglary and theft of property under $500. Currie took a wallet that contained approximately $200 in cash from a vehicle on Circle Drive, Dowelltown. The wallet was recovered but no cash was found. Sheriff Ray says Currie admitted to the theft. Bond is set at $7,500 and her court date is September 20th.

37 year old Mark Graham of Bright Hill Road, Smithville was arrested Sunday for possession of a schedule II drug (Cocaine) after deputies responded to a call at Grahams' residence. A white powdery substance believed to be cocaine was found in Graham's pocket. His bond is set at $2,500 and he will be in court September 20th.

Three Injured In Separate Weekend Wrecks

August 23, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old man was airlifted after a one auto traffic accident early Sunday morning on Highway 70 near Alexandria.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Brandon Likens of 3982 McMinnville Highway, Smithville was traveling east on U.S. 70 in a 2000 Pontiac Montana Minivan around 3:00 a.m. Sunday when he went off the right shoulder of the road, overcorrected, and then went back across the westbound lane and off the left shoulder. Trooper Jennings says Likens overcorrected again and spun around facing west. The vehicle slid back across the east bound lane, went off the shoulder, and struck a tree.

He was airlifted from the scene to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Trooper Jennings says Likens may have fallen asleep while driving, causing the crash.

Others responding included DeKalb EMS, the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team.

Meanwhile, two Hickman teenagers, a brother and sister, were seriously injured in a one vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on State Route 264 (Temperance Hall Road), just two miles outside of DeKalb County in Smith County.

Trooper Jennings says the 17 year old girl, of Hackett Valley Road Hickman, was driving a 2005 Dodge Neon north when she went off the steep right shoulder of the road and struck a tree. The girl and her 15 year old brother were pinned in the vehicle for a long period of time and had to be extricated. The boy reportedly lost his right leg due to the accident.

The two were flown from the scene to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Jennings declined to release the names of the teens because they are juveniles.

Bredesen, Buck Announce Coordinated School Health Partnership Grants

August 19, 2007

Governor Phil Bredesen and Representative Frank Buck today announced $12,322,000 in grants for school systems to launch or continue Coordinated School Health Partnerships (CSHP). In the 2007-08 school year, Tennessee school systems will administer this national model intended to improve children’s health and capacity to learn. Last year, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to mandate and fund coordinated school health partnerships for every school district in the state. DeKalb County Schools will receive $95,000 to implement its CSHP.

“I am pleased to see these local school systems embrace a greater role in protecting the physical, mental and emotional health of Tennessee’s students,” Governor Bredesen said. “Education and health are a natural partnership given the amount of time children spend in school. With initiatives like Coordinated School Health Partnerships, CoverKids and Get Fit Tennessee, we can raise a stronger, healthier generation of Tennesseans.”

Tennessee piloted 10 CSHP beginning in 2002 based on a model developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model partners families, community members and schools to create a culture focused on health awareness, physical activity, and health, nutrition and counseling services. A review of the pilot sites found significant improvements to the school environment and the well-being of students and school employees, prompting the legislature to expand the initiative statewide.

“An issue as important as the social and emotional health of children demands focus and a coordinated effort,” Representative Buck said. “These grants, among other things, ensure each school system has a leader dedicated to providing the resources necessary for strong students.”

Among the roles of the CSH partnerships will be to educate the community about CoverKids, Tennessee’s program to provide comprehensive health insurance to uninsured children 18 and under in Tennessee. Under this plan, a family of four with a yearly income of $51,625 can qualify for coverage with no monthly premiums, no co-pays for well-exams and low co-pays for sick visits and generic medications. This year, schools are sending CoverKids information and applications home with every student in an effort to reach as many uninsured children as possible.

New City Public Records Ordinance up for Final Passage Monday Night

August 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen are scheduled to vote on a proposed new ordinance Monday night governing access to public records. The vote was four to one for passage on first reading on August 6th.

Alderman Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, Jerry Hutchins', Sr., and Cecil Burger voted for it. Alderman Steve White voted against it, saying he had concerns with some passages of it.

If approved, the new ordinance will replace an existing ordinance, which poses some legal concerns.

Under the proposed new ordinance, " all records maintained by the City of Smithville, that are not Federally or State protected are hereby declared open records."

"Copies of open records that are requested during regular business hours are required to be provided to the requester. If the request is five pages or less, the copies will be free. However, copies will cost twenty five cents per page, starting with the sixth page and every page thereafter, unless otherwise excepted in this ordinance. If the request is of five pages or fewer and is readily available, the request will be fulfilled the same business day. If the request is more than five pages or not readily available, the request will be fulfilled within five business days. If the request is complex or of a personnel file then the request shall be fulfilled within ten business days. The fee for copies of items such as cd roms, computer disks, and audio/video cassettes, etc. will be charged at the rate paid by the city for such recording medium. However, if the requester provides the recording medium, there will be no additional charge from the city. All fees and charges for records shall be due and payable at the time such costs are incurred. City staff may require pre-payment of fees and charges for copies where the fees and charges would exceed twenty dollars."

"Removal of original open records, including personnel records, from the offices of the city is strictly prohibited."

"Copies of the City Charter, current City Code and Ordinances, and all Minutes of City Council meetings and Resolutions passed in the previous five years shall be readily available for review by the public. An area shall be designated for these items to be reviewed by the public."

"If copies of personnel records of city employees are requested, the City Recorder, or other city staff authorized by the City Recorder, shall notify the employee, for whom the records are requested, which documents have been copied, and to whom they have been provided. The employee shall be notified that the information has been requested within 48 hours. No copies of a personnel file shall be turned over to a third party without being reviewed by the City Attorney."

"Accident Reports provided by the Smithville Police Department shall be provided to anyone requesting the reports at a cost of four dollars per report. The city has determined that this is a reasonable charge, inasmuch as it is the same amount that is charged for such reports by the Tennessee Department of Safety (Tennessee Code Annotated) and other cities in Tennessee."

"It shall be the policy of the City of Smithville to cooperate fully with any Tennessee resident requesting the right to inspect an/or receive copies of open records at a reasonable charge; however, the city staff is prohibited from undertaking research projects to place records requested in any other form than normally maintained by the city, unless the requester agrees to pay for changing the form.'

"Ordinance number 382 (existing ordinance) of the City of Smithville is hereby repealed in it's entirety. Citizens that were charged fees under Ordinance Number 382 that are in excess of fees under (new ordinance) shall be entitled to a refund of those excess fees upon showing proof. This refund does not apply to prior requests of five pages and under."

The ordinance will be considered for second and final reading passage following a public hearing August 20th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Sheriff's Department Catches Man Operating Meth Lab

August 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, answering a complaint about a suspicious vehicle Thursday night, discovered a 39 year old man operating a meth lab.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Alvin Sink, Jr of Fairview Road, Crossville was arrested and is charged with manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of a weapon with intent to go armed. His bond is set at $35,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges August 30th.

Officers also seized a Keltic 9 millimeter gun.

Sheriff Ray says officers found the meth lab after responding to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle parked at a residence at 175 Hickory Street, Smithville. He says one of the deputies noticed a handgun in the back of the vehicle and then he and another deputy heard what sounded like the noise of a running generator coming from behind the residence.

The officers walked around back and saw an outbuilding, opened up the door to the shed, and found Sink operating a meth lab. Sink was using the generator to provide electric power to the outbuilding.

Sheriff Ray says the officers executed a search warrant and discovered in the outbuilding muriatic acid, iodine, pseudoephedrine, components of a meth lab, and some finished product. Meth lab components were also found in Sink's car.

According to Sheriff Ray, Sink did not reside at this Hickory Street address and the home appeared to be unoccupied. He says there was no electric service to the house. Upon a search of the home, officers found some meth lab components. Officers have been unable to locate the owner of the property.

Sheriff Ray says members of the Meth Task Force Response Unit of Chattanooga and Cookeville were notified and came to provide support and to help process the crime scene. The Hazmat Team was also there.

Meanwhile in a separate case, 29 year old Joel Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Smithville was pulled over on Evins Mill Road for a traffic violation Thursday.

Hayes was charged with driving under the influence, sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Hydrocodone), and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says officers found on Hayes a small container of pills believed to be Hydrocodone. Deputies also recovered at the scene a pill grinder and snorting straws.

Bond for Hayes is set at $7,500 and he will be in General Sessions Court on August 30th.

If you have concerns about suspicious activity in your neighborhood or have information that could help solve a crime, Sheriff Ray urges you to call the anonymous tip line at 464-6400. You do not have to give your name.

$2.43 million partnership delivers affordable rental housing in Smithville

August 19, 2007

Rural Development Housing Program Director Don Harris joined Short Mountain Village General Partner and Developer Dale Lancaster Wednesday for the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of a new 56 unit affordable rental housing development in Smithville. The ceremony was held at Short Mountain Village located at 310 Christine Street.

“The goal of the Rural Development housing loan guarantee program is to work with the private sector to ensure there is enough quality, affordable rental housing to meet the needs of families in rural areas,” said Harris. “By working together, this partnership has accomplished much more than any of us could accomplish alone to help improve the quality of life for families in DeKalb County.”

The Rural Development $2.43 million loan guarantee makes it possible for the developer to secure the necessary private-sector financing through Lewiston State Bank-Bonneville Mortgage Company. The loan funds will be used to convert short-term construction financing to a traditional long-term mortgage on the $6,585,398 multi-family development. The general partner of Mountain Village, LP is providing $460,034 in equity and THDA will provide $3,692,488 in tax credit equity to help make the venture commercially viable.

Short Mountain Village includes 56 three-bedroom, two bathroom detached rental homes with garages and an on-site community center at the heart of the development.

“Short Mountain Village is an exciting addition to our company and we have already achieved full occupancy with great residents much quicker than normal,” said Lancaster. “What a great feeling it is to add to the affordable housing inventory in such a beautiful area like Smithville, and to work with the great people at Rural Development and THDA is icing on the cake.”

The loan guarantee is funded through the new Rural Development multi-family housing (538) program, which helps public bodies and private lenders make loans to developers who build new or renovate existing apartments and other rental properties in rural areas. Guaranteed housing loans are made to serve rural areas with a population less than 25,000.

USDA Rural Development is committed to the future of rural communities in Tennessee by investing financial and technical assistance through housing, community and business development programs. In Fiscal Year 2006 Rural Development assisted more than 467,575 Tennessee families and businesses with more than $288 million in financial assistance through loans and grants.

For more information on business development, affordable housing or community facilities programs available in the DeKalb County area, contact the Rural Development Area Office in Cookeville at 931-528-6539 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1493 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.

$2.43 million partnership delivers affordable rental housing in Smithville

Rural Development Housing Program Director Don Harris joined Short Mountain Village General Partner and Developer Dale Lancaster Wednesday for the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of a new 56 unit affordable rental housing development in Smithville. The ceremony was held at Short Mountain Village located at 310 Christine Street.

“The goal of the Rural Development housing loan guarantee program is to work with the private sector to ensure there is enough quality, affordable rental housing to meet the needs of families in rural areas,” said Harris. “By working together, this partnership has accomplished much more than any of us could accomplish alone to help improve the quality of life for families in DeKalb County.”

The Rural Development $2.43 million loan guarantee makes it possible for the developer to secure the necessary private-sector financing through Lewiston State Bank-Bonneville Mortgage Company. The loan funds will be used to convert short-term construction financing to a traditional long-term mortgage on the $6,585,398 multi-family development. The general partner of Mountain Village, LP is providing $460,034 in equity and THDA will provide $3,692,488 in tax credit equity to help make the venture commercially viable.

Short Mountain Village includes 56 three-bedroom, two bathroom detached rental homes with garages and an on-site community center at the heart of the development.

“Short Mountain Village is an exciting addition to our company and we have already achieved full occupancy with great residents much quicker than normal,” said Lancaster. “What a great feeling it is to add to the affordable housing inventory in such a beautiful area like Smithville, and to work with the great people at Rural Development and THDA is icing on the cake.”

The loan guarantee is funded through the new Rural Development multi-family housing (538) program, which helps public bodies and private lenders make loans to developers who build new or renovate existing apartments and other rental properties in rural areas. Guaranteed housing loans are made to serve rural areas with a population less than 25,000.

USDA Rural Development is committed to the future of rural communities in Tennessee by investing financial and technical assistance through housing, community and business development programs. In Fiscal Year 2006 Rural Development assisted more than 467,575 Tennessee families and businesses with more than $288 million in financial assistance through loans and grants.

For more information on business development, affordable housing or community facilities programs available in the DeKalb County area, contact the Rural Development Area Office in Cookeville at 931-528-6539 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1493 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.

Criminal Charges May be Sought Against Jennings

August 17, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Criminal charges may be sought against former Smithville Police Lieutenant Richard Jennings.

Police Chief Tom Stufano, in a brief news release, says "Smithville Police Detectives met with the Middle Tennessee District Attorney's Office Tuesday to file Theft and Official Misconduct charges in the upcoming December Grand Jury scheduled in December against former Smithville Police Officer Richard Jennings. Smithville Police have advised that the City has now turned the case over to the District Attorney's Office and the US Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for prosecution."

Jennings was terminated from the Smithville Police Department last week for alleged violations of police department policies and procedures as well as possible violations of state and federal law. He is accused of removing weapons, inventory files, ammunition, and other items from the police department, some of which were allegedly found in his personal possession.

The attorney for Jennings, Adam Parrish of Lebanon, in a telephone conversation with WJLE last Friday afternoon, said " We think the allegations against Mr. Jennings are preposterous. They are nothing more than an attempt to discredit and humiliate him, simply because Mr. Jennings is privy to information that is particularly damaging to Chief (Tom) Stufano and the department. It's our belief he will be completely vindicated before the five man board."

Jennings was placed on suspension with pay pending termination on Friday, August 3rd, following an internal police department investigation.

Last Thursday afternoon, the case against Jennings was presented to the city's discipline hearing authority, which is made up of Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Cecil Burger, and City Recorder Burnace Vandergriff. After hearing the evidence, the vote was 3 to 0 to terminate Jennings.

Jennings is appealing his termination to the entire board of Mayor and Aldermen, which has the final say on the issue. The hearing is set for Monday night during the city council meeting at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Commission to Cut Property Tax Rate and Adopt Budgets Monday Night

August 17, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Expect a property tax cut when the county commission votes on the proposed new budget Monday night.

The county budget committee will recommend to the commission that the property tax rate be cut by 20 cents from $1.90 to $1.70 per $100 of assessed value.

The proposed tax rate breaks down as follows:

County General Fund- 62 cents (a cut of five cents from last year)
Solid Waste- 19 cents (an increase of one cent from last year)
Debt Service- 29 cents (the same as last year)
Highways- 3 cents (the same as last year)
General Purpose Schools- 57 cents (a cut of 16 cents from last year)

The total county budget comes to $32,717,412.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the proposed budget includes a pay raise of 25 cents per hour for county general employees and a $250 bonus for employees with five years of service. Employees with up to ten years of service would get an extra $50 bonus for each year of service from five to ten years.

Foster says the Assessor of Property, who has two employees, would get a third under the proposed new budget. "They (budget committee) have proposed putting one extra position in the tax assessor's office. The thinking is that within a short time, there will be building safety codes and that they should be administered (with this new employee) out of that office."

The Assessor, however, may also use the extra employee for other duties in the office.

According to Foster, "We are experiencing several builders coming in here that are not used to building on these steep lots. Since I've been in office, ten houses have either been built on the wrong lots or partially on the wrong lots. There's got to be some safety devices in place to take care of the innocent home owners."

"On these really steep lots, they (developers) need to have an engineer that they pay for who can come in and say ‘this is how you need to engineer this foundation so your house doesn't slide off this hill'. We need to know where your lot lines are before you build your house and that your builder complies with codes. It's a safety thing for the homeowner."

In the Sheriff's Department budget, Foster says the county plans to seek a grant to purchase surveillance cameras for the jail. "We're trying to get a small grant, a Community Enhancement Grant, to put in surveillance cameras all through the jail to make it a safer place for everyone. It would involve about $25,000. We feel like this really needs to be done for the safety of the employees and to keep inmate to inmate violence down."

Sheriff Ray says the commission has already approved the purchase of the cameras. If the grant is approved, it is expected to save the county some money.

Foster says the department also plans to purchase patrol cars to replace older vehicles. "Sheriff Ray bought four cars last year, including one new one and three used cars. The used cars , which came from Missouri had 40,000 to 50,000 miles on them and the county paid $10,000 to $11,000 dollars for them. This year the plan is to purchase about four more cars to replace older ones. There's only probably about sixteen cars (in the department)"

In the County Fire Department, Foster says funds are included to provide shelter for a couple of tankers. "There's a little bit of money in there to try and fix a place to store a couple of tankers that are now outside, so if we had a freeze (this winter) they would be in a closed up building."

Meanwhile, Foster says he is proud of the new fire station in the Austin Bottom Community. "It is really nice. The people over there did a great job in helping us get that done. It's also going to be a voting place and a very small community center. The building is 1,600 square feet. It will store two fire trucks and could keep an ambulance there overnight if needed. If there was a boating event, you might want to keep an ambulance there over night."

On the landfill, Foster says money is being carried over from last year to develop a new cell site, once the state grants the permit for construction. "We still have that money in there that was appropriated in 2007 to do the new cell. We borrowed that money as by law we are required to do. Once you do your budget, you only have six months to borrow that money. So we borrowed it and put it in the bank and it's actually making a little bit of money right now. We're waiting for approval to expand a cell and that money will be used for it. We're very close to running out of space. We have already talked to another county about, if we run out of space before the permit is issued, could be work out a deal with them to haul some of our garbage to that county. We're trying to recycle cardboard, plastic, and paper on a small scale. We are recycling about 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of cardboard a month which is not going into the landfill, along with tires and burned oil. We ship about three truck loads of tires a month out of the county, which costs about $3,200 to $3,300 a month to do so."

Foster says funds are also included in the solid waste budget to purchase a new garbage truck.

Meanwhile, Foster says a new location still has not yet been found to replace the garbage collection convenience site on Highway 56 south. " We were leasing it from Ernie and Betsy Lynam. It was a very handy place and the people are missing it, but the state bought it and they gave us until August 1st to be off of it. We had to move the equipment to the landfill where we have stored it until we find a place to put it. We have about three places we've been looking at. All of them are impacted by the new road and we don't know exactly how much of those lots are going to be left and how much access there is going to be to them. We are trying very hard to locate one (new convenience center site) because it is an inconvenience to the people."

Foster says the new budget includes funds to purchase property next to the county jail, which could be used for parking at the jail and Justin Potter Library. If the county can't come to terms with the owner, it could initiate imminent domain proceedings. "We have been looking at the building next to the jail (house and lot) for future and current needs. It sold before we could buy it and we're trying to negotiate with the new owner to purchase it. We are interested in it partially for the security of the jail, parking for the jail, and parking for the library."

The new budget breaks down as follows:
General Fund- $5,781,689
Courthouse & Jail Maintenance- $80,425
Local Purpose Fund- $1,962,776
Drug Control- $20,908
Highways- $2,060,868
General Purpose Schools- $17,172,300
School Cafeteria Fund- $1,154,200
Debt Service- $1,264,,216
General Capital Projects- $784,210
Solid Waste- $2,435,821 (Includes a six year note for up to $1,225,000 to build a new cell at the landfill- a carry over project from last year)

The county commission will vote on the new budget and set the property tax rate Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. A public hearing will be held at 6:00 p.m. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.

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