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Commissioners meeting sees lengthy discussions

By Teresa Crowder
Freelance Writer

In May, the Johnson County Commissioner’s Meeting was a lengthy one with much to discuss. After the standard opening, approval of April minutes, committee reports, notary approvals, and budget approval amendments, Judge Stacy Street approached the podium with a heartful request.
The old Northeast Correctional Carter County Annex in Roan Mtn, TN, has been made available and leased by Judges Street and Rice for 5yrs at a dollar a year with a solid plan to provide rehabilitative services for those in the Recovery Court program.
Stacy Street and Lisa Rice were present to convey a request for all or a portion of the Baby Doe Opioid settlement money that will be allotted to Johnson County, Tennessee, totaling a little over one million dollars.
This allocation would be used to fund the program they will volunteer their time running to supply the first judicial district with a 12-to-16-month residential addiction facility.
“Last year, there were 6,000 charges in criminal court closed in our district; 85 percent of these have a drug component,” said Judge Street.
Recovery Court was created to remedy these issues with addiction in the criminal court system.
“In the Recovery Court Program, you get a job, pay court costs and fines, pass a drug test, and comply with the law,” Street said. “Now we have twenty-five in this program, and seven of those are from Johnson County. They are not in your jail. If they do not comply and do these things, we send them back to jail. Once the program is completed, it is a rate at better than 75 percent that these individuals stay out of jail, pay taxes, keep jobs, and have insurance.”
Street and Rice contend that any country donating all, or a portion of this money will have a seat on the board and participate in the decision-making process. If no money is donated, care will be provided to those who need it from the county. There would just not be representation on the board from the county.
The meeting continued with a discussion regarding the Timothy Branch Bridge. Engineers, representatives from the Permatile company, an independent engineer, a TDOT rep, and Jeff Wagner Road Superintendent were on hand to chime in when needed when relevant questions arose.
The concrete used suffered minor damage to the bridge when the company was making the installation. This is uncommon but needs to be addressed by the company, engineer, and other representatives and discussed by all stakeholders. The engineer in charge makes it a practice to contact an independent source to inspect when this happens to ensure ethical practices are in place to render a solid, informative decision regarding the bridge’s condition. These sources were confident
there were no structural damages and requested work to begin again as delays are costly.
Commissioners Lowe, Poore, Snyder, McEwen, Phillips, and Adams addressed this matter throughout the discussion with all representatives to render a solid solution and plan to move forward with the repairs and solicit a warranty on the bridge due to the installation mishap for confidence to be high in this project.
It was determined repairs are to be made now, and attorney Stout will advise regarding the warranty agreement between the company and the commissioners.
Various agreements, bids, grants, and resolutions followed with an ending interchange between the public and commissioners regarding the Fleet Garland Road. Individuals living on this road have requested the county to surrender the road to them or for the county to fix areas of concern on this road.
The lengthy discussion merited no complete solution as the commissioners will take no action on this matter at this time.
In addition to Mayor Mike Taylor, and Chairman Scott Mast, the following commissioners were present at the meeting; Bill Adams, Berna Arnold, Eugene Campbell, Gina Meade, Jerry Gentry, Jerry Grindstaff, Evelyn Hill, Jimmy Lowe, Megan McEwen, Freddy Phillips, Tommy Poore, and Rick Snyder.