Agenda items for the September meeting of county commissioners included election of Chair and Vice-Chair, an appointment to the Copper Basin Medical Center District Board, WiFi access for the public, money for road grants, and more. 1st District Commissioner John Pippenger was elected Commission Chairman for 2016-2017. Third District Commissioner Daniel Deal was elected Vice-Chair.
Will Bishop was appointed to the CBMC Hospital Board. A motion was first made by Deal to appoint Raymond Allison. Allison was one of themes submitted by the board. Sheena Gaddis said the commission needed to know what they were appointing, and that his application for the board said he would be bringing “common sense” to the board. Gaddis made a substitute motion to appoint Will Bishop, who had turned an application in to the county. The substitute motion brought up question from last month’s meeting, where there was debate about the proper procedure for substitute motions.
Pippenger said once a substitute motion passes, it then becomes the main motion and must be voted on again. He said he had done some research and checked with several parliamentarians, and that a substitute motion was the same as an amended motion. Gaddis asked why that was contrary to what Jimmy Logan said. County Executive Hoyt Firestone pointe out the motion last month had been as a subsequent motion to amend. Pippenger said when a motion to amend it passed, it become the main motion and has to be voted on.
Gaddis said she wanted the board to vote on the person with the most qualifications, and not “common sense.” Her motion to substitute Will Bishop instead of Raymond Allison was seconded by Mark Bishop. Deal passed on the vote, all others voted yes. Daren Waters and Karen Bracken were absent. The vote on the motion as a main motion passed with the same vote. Deal told Bishop his vote was nothing against him, and he hoped Bishop would do a good job on the board.
Commissioners approved moving $130,000 from the fund balance to pay the match on several grants for road work. Buster Lewis told the board There were projects approved through Federal Land Access Projects, State Aide Paving Projects, and State Aide Bridge Projects. Total cost of the projects, which include bridge work at Old Fort, Columbus, Chestuee, Reynolds, and Turtletown; and paving on Ladd Springs and Sugarloaf would be over $5 million. The county would be required to pay a little over $400,000 to do all the projects. Mark Bishop said taking out one big project on Ladd Springs would lower the county’s portion to $130,000. $287,000 would have to go toward the Ladd Springs project. That project was estimated at $1.14 million total. Bishop made a motion to fund all the projects except that one. Lewis said the FLAP (Federal Land Access Projects) money could be put off for one year and still be okay. He also pointe out the Easley Ford project was not on there because they had resistance from a neighbor. Bishop said if that bridge was condemned, they would have to take it out. He also pointed out the Road Department had used their fund balance for the recent Old Federal Road project.
Pippenger addressed the board about the possibility of having open WiFi at the courthouse. He said at one time they did, and students would use it after school. He said it was also useful to look up things during meetings. He suggested creating a committee to check into the cost of having WiFi at the courthouse as well as the Ducktown Community Center. Bishop said a lot of people don’t even have access to internet. Gaddis asked what happened to the WiFi that used to be at the courthouse; Firestone said it left when the library moved. Pippenger, Gaddis, and Mike Curbow will be on the WiFi committee and will look into the issue.
Assessor of Property Randy Yates told the board he was in need of a new plotter and two computers for his office. He said he had asked for money in his budget for the equipment, but was told to take it out of the budget and then request money from the fund balance. He said one computer was completely down and the other was 10-years old and had serious issues. Commissioners approved $8800 for the equipment.
Mark Bishop told the board a motion had been made during budget committee to add $1500 for data processing equipment for the County Clerk and Register of Deeds. County Clerk Angie Sanford said it was her understanding Kandi Bramlett had been told to make her purchase then do a budget amendment. Sanford said she had done the same. Firestone said it was fine to have a negative in that line until the amendment could be done the next month. The board also approved bonds for the Property Assessor and Road Superintendent. Firestone told the board the constable positions could be covered by the county’s blanket policy. Approval was also given to the Sheriff’s Department to declare various old sirens and police radios as surplus equipment to dispose of them.