Commissioner Sharp Resigns
September 24, 2020
At the end of Monday’s County Commission meeting, Commissioner Connie Sharp announced that she would be resigning from her term as Commissioner for the 8th District.
“It has been my privilege and honor to serve the citizens of the 8th District for the past ten years,” Commissioner Sharp said. “During that time we have seen some hard times and some exciting things happen for Lewis County. Every administration has their own management issues and challenges.
“I’m excited that we will finally be able to see the jail put out for bids in a few weeks,” said Commissioner Sharp. “This is a project that has taken seven years to acccomplish.”
Commissioner Sharp has purchased a property outside of the 8th District that she intends to move into, she stated.
“Therefore, I rendered this letter as my resignation as County Commissioner of the 8th District, effective after this meeting on September 21, 2020,” said Commissioner Sharp.
Commissioner Sharp was met with a room full of applause and congratulatory statements on the purchase of a new property. “It’s been an honor serving with you,” said Mayor Keltner. “We’ll miss you,” said one Commissioner.
Because the time for election has passed, an advertisement for applicants will be run in the Lewis County Herald. Applicants will be able to speak at the Commission’s next meeting on Oct. 19th, and the County Commission will appoint a new commissioner.
Commissioners Robert Brewer and Jason Fite were absent for Monday’s meeting.
“Our last meeting was pretty brief,” said Commissioner Tanner. “We went over each appeal that we were presented with and voted whether to appeal it or not. We currently have $19,461.32 in the funds.”
Public Safety Board member Commissioner Sharp stated all members were present for last Monday’s meeting, except for Commissioner Fite.
Mayor Keltner shared with them that Lewis County had 14 active COVID-19 cases, and our county ranked 94th in the state for active cases.
“Sometimes it’s good to be on the bottom,” said Commissioner Sharp. “We’re thankful for that.”
The Solid Waste haulers removed 562 tons of waste from January- August 2019. During the same period in 2020, there was 488 tons removed, making a savings of 74 tons less trash than the previous year.
The Park Grants for a ten year plan will cost a total of $45,000. There is an 80/20 match, which means the cost to the county will be $9,000. “This step is necessary to receive 30 points on the grant process for grants that range from a minimum of $40,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000. The pre-application is due by October 1st,” said Commissioner Sharp.
The next issue Commissioner Sharp addressed was brought up by Director of E911, Danny Atkinson. He shared concerns with the Board that “changes were made without all parties with a vetted interest being included.”
“Currently the County pays 40 percent, the City pays 40 percent and the 911 Board pays 20 percent of the budget,” Commissioner Sharp said. “The 911 Board owns the equipment and the building.”
Mr. Atkinson was concerned that the Chief of Police had made changes to the Ten Codes, the language which first responders communicate by, and made staff changes without proper training and without making other agencies aware.
“This is partly due to the COVID virus but the changes in codes affects 911, First Responders, Sheriff’s Department and City Police,” the report read. “Mr. Atkinson is concerned that the county is looking at liability issues.”
During the time allotment for public input, Atkinson came before the Commission and said he needed to correct himself from Monday night’s meeting.
“I met with the Safety Committee and blamed everything on the Chief of Police, and it was not all on him. They had a meeting. I didn’t find this out until Friday, between the Sheriff, Capt. Tiller, and the Police Chief. I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that I made a mistake because I didn’t know until Friday that this meeting had taken place,” said Atkinson. “But nothing went before the Board. Nothing.”
The Budget Committee met on Sept. 14th and all members were present except for Robert Brewer.
The General Fund balance was $821,913 including $235,656 in reserve accounts. The Solid Waste hauling bill had savings of $5,565 under budget because of new recycling procedures.
Adam Barnes requested an easement for a residential gas line across the County Industrial Park back property line. Commissioner Hinson made the motion to approve and Commissioner Carroll seconded. Barnes’ request was unanimously approved.
A resolution was approved to amend the budget to reflect COVID Cares and COVID Grant money.
A resolution was approved for consideration of the Commission to allow Reserved Drug Fund money to be used for the new Courtroom construction in the Sentinel Building.
The Committee reports were unanimously approved.
Newly Appointed Chairman and Pro-Tempore
Chairman of Commission
Current Chairman of Commission and County Mayor Jonah Keltner stepped down from the podium as the Board of County Commissioners got ready to appoint a new Chairman of Commission.
Commissioner Wendell Kelley nominated Ronnie Brewer and Commissioner Allison Tanner nominated Mayor Keltner.
The vote was made by roll call. Below is how the commissioners voted:
Ronnie Brewer - Brewer
Jerry Ashmore - Brewer
Brian Peery - Keltner
Larry Hensley - Brewer
Timmie Hinson - Keltner
Wendell Kelley - Brewer
Kyle Bobo - Keltner
Halfacre - Pass
Austin Carroll - Keltner
Jim Grinder - Pass
Aren Ragsdale - Keltner
T.J. Hinson - Keltner
Allison Tanner - Keltner
Bill Dyer - Brewer
Connie Sharp - Keltner
Mayor Keltner was re-elected as Chairman of the Commission, eight to five. Commissioners Grinder and Halfacre did not change their vote, and remained a pass.
Brian Peery was nominated by Commissioner Timmie Hinson. Commissioner Brewer made a motion to cease nominations and Commissioner Peery was re-elected unanimously.
County Commission report will continue in next week’s edition.