The demolition of the former McDonald School garnered additional discussion by the Bradley County Commission last week.
The demolition of the former McDonald School garnered additional discussion by the Bradley County Commission in its most recent gathering.
The governing body was scheduled to meet again today, having been delayed in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday.
The McDonald School demolition had been discussed at length during a prior county commission gathering. During the meeting, commissioners heard from Commissioner Louie Alford, who commented about the demolition and removal of debris from the former McDonald School site.
“Whoever did it did an outstanding job,” Alford said.
He also gave kudos to the nine county commissioners who voted to put money for the demolition into this year’s budget.
Alford asked that the remaining portable buildings on the former school property be looked at, as well as a “huge propane tank.”
Chairman Johnny Mull asked the Building and Land Committee to look at those issues.
Referring to the kudos Alford had given to nine commissioners who voted for a property tax increase in the current year’s budget, Commissioner Howard Thompson said there were five commissioners who voted against it. He wants to give them kudos, too.
Thompson also noted the demolition of the old school would “have happened anyway” under the budget proposal presented by County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
Commissioner Milan Blake asked about the plans for the former school property.
Commissioner Mike Hughes said the McDonald Community Center leadership has plans.
“They are looking forward,” he said. “They’ve got some dreams that hopefully will come true.”
During his report, Davis presented three resolutions that he asked for the County Commission to consider:
• A resolution authorizing Mayor Davis to negotiate and enter into a four-year lease agreement with Bancorp Bank to lease 15 vehicles for an annual payment of $153,727.37 per year.
• A resolution authorizing Mayor Davis to negotiate and enter into a contract with Thomas Reuters regarding subscription services for the product "West Proflex" for use by the Bradley County Attorney's Office for legal research for a period of three years for a monthly amount of $272 per month.
• A resolution authorizing Mayor Davis to negotiate and enter into an agreement with Willoughby Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc. to provide roofing services at the Bradley County Court/Juvenile Detention for an amount of $50,492 and at the Bradley County Courthouse for an amount of $163,908.
Blake put the resolutions on Tuesday’s meeting agenda.
In other business, the County Commission:
• Heard from Thompson, who introduced the Rev. Guinn Green, pastor at Kinser Church of God, who asked to address the county commission. Green is a chaplain for both Tennova-Cleveland and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
Speaking to commissioners, Green said the county cCommission is often in his prayers. He noted they often are seen negatively, but he wanted to “pin some roses on their chests” with his visit and thank them for their service. He also complimented the BCSO personnel.
Green said he attended the funeral of Brent Myers, a BCSO deputy, earlier this month, and noted the honor guard did a good job during the service.
“We’ve got some of the best officers I’ve ever worked with,” Green said, adding he wanted to share that with commissioners.
• Heard from Vice Chairman Thomas Crye, who commented on Gov. Bill Lee’s decision to continue accepting refugees, allowing them to resettle in Tennessee.
“It’s legal — it’s nothing other than the continuation of an existing policy,” Crye said.
He also noted that along with refugees come “obligations” for local governments, of which the county commission and school system need to be mindful.
“Along with that comes the funding of it and the space requirements,” Crye said.
For example, the decision was recently made to expand both North Lee and Black Fox elementary schools, adding four classrooms with restrooms at both schools.
Crye said few refugees speak English, so more ESL (English as a second language) teachers may be needed, as well as even more classroom space.
Thompson noted just because former Gov. Bill Haslam set a policy doesn’t mean Lee has “to follow up on it.”
• Heard from Blake, who made a motion to approve the Finance Committee recommendation to approve a budget amendment submitted by Mayor Davis moving $164,122.90 from reserve funds into the County Buildings Improvements line item to cover the cost of replacing the courthouse roof.
Blake also made a motion to approve the Finance Committee recommendation to adopt changes to the Bradley County Purchasing Procedures.
• Heard from Commissioner Kevin Raper, who said Bradley County’s roads continue to have traffic problems. He asked about working with the City of Cleveland to look into a joint meeting to discuss road concerns affecting both the city and county.
Commissioner Bill Winters agreed there should be an opportunity to discuss these issues.
Mull said he would work to set up a meeting.
• Heard from resident Kristy Kessler, who voiced her concern about drainage issues affecting her property on Jenkins Road, outside the Quail Road subdivision.
“Basically, I’ve been told it’s a civil matter and water runs downhill,” she said.
Her concern is the Bradley County Road Department is doing work to improve drainage issues for a property inside the subdivision, that will funnel more water onto her property.
“I agree it’s a problem,” Mull said.
Winters asked if there is a way other than a civil suit for this issue to be resolved. He questioned if there are regulations that can be put in place to deal with it.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak said subdivision regulations are up to date now, but the Quail Run subdivision is older, and wasn’t built to present regulations. She reiterated it is a civil issue.
Kessler said she owns about four acres of property at the edge of the subdivision.
“It’s been a little bit of a headache,” she said.
Raper agreed, mentioning this situation came up earlier in the Road Committee meeting.
“To be honest with you, they’re not easy answers,” he said. “It’s being looked at, but I can’t sit here and tell you we have any fantastic answers.”
• Heard from Winters, who commended the “proaction” of Bradley County Schools for the “Escape the Vape” presentation.
“We’re having a semi-epidemic of vaping in our schools,” he said.
Peak noted in 2012 or 2013 Bradley County became one of the first in the state to ban vaping in all county-owned buildings, facilities and land.
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