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Agricultural Complex plans move forward

Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor concludes the December County Commission meeting with holiday well wishes for all in attendance. Photo By Bethany Anderson

By Bethany Anderson

The Johnson County Commission held its final session for the year last week in the Johnson County Courthouse with the planned Agricultural Center building project taking much of the time for the evening.
Following the routine, the meeting opened with a prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, and a call to order and a call for any public comments was then issued. Meeting minutes from the previous November County Commission meeting were unanimously approved.
Amongst the Commission’s various agenda items for the evening were the approval of Eric Nordmark to be hired for Architectural Services for Agricultural Center construction, authorization to execute an Archeological survey for the Agricultural Center site at the cost of $5,500 and approval of Resolution and Policy for credit card usage within The Commission.
The planned Agricultural Center building project was of great importance as the Budget Committee had recommended that the architect should be approved only after he submitted an estimate of the finished project. The County Commission, however, unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Nordmark to provide the architectural services needed for the planned Center construction.
Motions to approve a soil study and to apply for a septic system application were granted as well followed by an archeological study at an estimated cost of $5,500.
The project’s next phase is set to be requesting various versions of a preliminary design from the architect for the complex including those with and without different office spaces available for
One such office space would be to house the current Johnson County location of the University of Tennessee Extension Office, now located at 212 College St in downtown Mountain City, which would mean the relocation of those offices. Commissioners pointed out that the move is something they may or may not “be happy about.” It was then pointed out that because their current office space is considered a donation, they do not currently pay rent. The UT Extension Office could potentially be asked to move to the new complex with or without their approval.
Attempts to reach the Johnson County University of Tennessee Extension Offices for comment was unsuccessful due to Holiday hours. However, the issue will undoubtedly be followed by the public as well as future reports.
The USDA has already expressed interest in leasing some of the other proposed offices, and any additional office space would be available to lease out to other potential applicants to offset the costs of such a complex.
A motion to formally congratulate new Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee on his election was approved, as well as the issue of a statement to him assuring him that the local Northeast Correctional Complex would always remain a State Prison. Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor concluded the Johnson County Commission’s evening meeting by wishing all those present a “Very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.”