Mountain City/Johnson County Community Center Director Flo Bellamy, (front), is joined by Joey Adams in June during an annual Cancer Support Group fundraiser event in downtown Mountain City TN. Mountain City Alderman suggested Flo do a similar event to help fund the Community Center. File Photo
By Meg Dickens
Mountain City /Johnson County Community Center Director Flo Bellamy reached out to the Mountain City Council during its Tuesday, November 3 meeting for help with staffing, asking for a part-time employee able to work a minimum of 20 hours. During this meeting, the Mountain City Council mentioned that it “let go” two part-time employees working approximately 35 hours a week from the Center when closing it for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now, my people are working the programs we have in the evening as well as in the day,” said Director Bellamy. “If I could get help with just a part-time person for at least 20 hours. Because right now, any of us can’t be out for anything. If I have an employee out sick, that leaves three of us doing everything from our cleaning and on.”
Alderman Lawrence Keeble suggested pursuing help from the Johnson County government, but Bellamy explained that the county said it had no extra money to spare. According to City Recorder Sheila Shaw, the county contributes $25,000 to the Center annually, while the city contributes $100,000. Back in September, the Center learned that the LEAPs grant (Lottery for Education: After-school Programs grant) that contributed $50,000 in funding annually no longer exists, which puts a strain on Center funding. Keeble estimates that hiring a worker for Bellamy that can work up to 30 hours a week, per the city’s recommendation, would cost approximately $16,000 annually, with the relatively recent pay raise to $10 an hour.
“I’m going to make a motion that we authorize Flo to hire a person and work them up to 30 hours,” said Morrison. “Because if we’ve got the kids there, we’ve got to have the support and the supervision.”
People in the community have stepped up. Locals have donated cleaning supplies and other items after Bellamy released a list of needed items on social media in September. Now the City Council is asking Bellamy to reach out for more monetary support by hosting a roadblock. Dates are unknown at this moment, but several individuals have already agreed to help run the roadblock.
For more information on the Mountain City /Johnson County Community Center and how to help, call (423) 727- 2942.The Mountain City Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month and posts meeting recordings online at mountaincitytn.org.