July 24, 2014 - 11:20
Commission seeks to protect privacy
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During their regular meeting last Thursday, County Commissioners passed a resolution relating to a petition and claim filed in Chancery Court requesting documents about county health insurance.

During their regular meeting last Thursday, County Commissioners passed a resolution relating to a petition and claim filed in Chancery Court requesting documents about county health insurance. The resolution, written by County Attorney Jimmy Logan, says the county wants to be in full compliance, but also wants to protect privacy rights of its employees.

The resolution says the county has no desire to be in violation of the open records act, but also has no desire to be in violation of HIPAA regulations. It says a violation of HIPAA could lead to a violation of the privacy rights of county employees and family members.

Commissioners also passed a resolution regarding collection of local sales tax on internet purchases. County Executive Hoyt Firestone said the state had come to an agreement with Amazon about collecting sales tax, but no method was in place yet to distribute the local portion.

The resolution requests that when the state is considering the method, they ensure local governments get their portion. Firestone pointed out the amount collected from online purchases will continue to grow and that sales tax is the second largest source of revenue for the county.

In other business, a request from Frank Russell to purchase county land next to his property was approved. The request had initially been brought up at the February meeting, where commissioners agreed the land Russell requested was not useful to them. Third District Commissioner Daren Waters told commissioners Russell had offered $2500/acre for the section, which is between 2-3 acres.

At the end of the meeting, William Bracken told the board he thought the county was not releasing money properly to vendors at the airport. He said TDOT administered the grant program, but the county was releasing more money than they were taking in.

“You can delude yourself into thinking no county money is involved, but there is,” Bracken said. He provided his own spreadsheets for commissioners to look at and demanded to know where the money was coming from.

Firestone said the airport manager was putting in the additional funds. He said there was not enough information on the sheet to come to any conclusions.

“The local share is being paid by the operator and tenant at the airport,” Firestone said, adding the money was released at the request of the vendor and engineer. Money for the project has to come through the county general fund even if it comes from an outside source.

Commissioner Greg Brooks and Board Chairman Buster Lewis both said they remembered the commission meeting when the improvement project and grant were approved, and that the airport manager agreed to pay the difference.

Firestone told Chairman Lewis to get the airport committee together to go over the finances. Committee members were selected, but no meeting was set.

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