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Proposed EMS resolution vote fails before commission

By:  Rebecca Herman

Freelance Writer

Johnson County Commissioners met on Thursday, September 21 for their regularly scheduled meeting; all commissioners were present. The meeting began by voting to keep Mike Taylor as chairman, Rick Snyder as vice-chairman, and Perry Stout as county attorney.  The commission then recognized Jim Gilley as the “Voice of Johnson County” due to his many years of service at the WMCT radio station in Mountain City.
Public comments were next with Travis Warlock speaking about concerns with grant money not properly being used in building the new prisoner holding cell in the courthouse. However, later in the meeting this grant was discussed and Chairman Mike Taylor verified that grant money has not been obtained for this project yet. Commissioners voted to apply for the grant. Any money that has been spent, up to this point, has come out of the court security fund and has paid for the work that has been done.
Ashley Warlock spoke next about concerns about the EMS resolution and wanted clarification. She was concerned with Johnson County EMS squad being the only people who could respond to an emergency. She explained that at a recent JV football game, a player was injured and it took over 30 minutes for an EMS squad to get to the injured player. Since the EMS squad regularly has vehicles out of the county taking patients to other hospitals, she is concerned with the wait time that seriously injured people have to deal with. The commissioners spoke about this resolution later in the meeting, and could not agree to several requirements in the resolution, so the resolution failed.
The commission gave their approval for Dustin Shearin, purchasing agent for the county, to go ahead with the contracts and paperwork needed to switch the county government offices to Skyline/Skybest. The project has the potential to spread Skyline’s service out into the county in the future. The commission also approved Shearin to approve a bid of $24,000 for a licensed electrician to complete work at the airport. This money will be paid back to the county through the airport’s hanger rental fees.
The commission also rejected a lighting maintenance proposal that had been seen previously in order for Shearin to rewrite a proposal that would include pursing an application with TVA.
John Behnke spoke to the commission about placing a cell tower at the Industrial Park; the location was chosen based on the recommendation of engineers in Memphis. There was a lengthy discussion about the placement. Many commissioners felt that there were other areas in the county that needed cell phone towers more than in Doe. Behnke explained that he and county Mayor Larry Potter has already discussed more towers in the future. Behnke needed the commissioners’ permission to build at the location because of a covenant on the land. Vice-chairman, Rick Snyder, was also concerned that if the land were sold in the future that the new owners would not receive the monthly rent from the company buying the land. The commissioners voted eight to six to allow the Behnke to build the cell phone tower.
The commission also voted to add Richard Hammons to the Cold Springs Utility District Board of Commissioners due to Frank Johnson stepping down and approved Warren Stewart to the Library Board due to the retirement of Gail Tate. Also approved was the continued partnership between the county and Alliance for Business and Training for Local Workforce Development.
The next commission meeting will be October 19 at 7pm.