Workhouse decision is expected by county on Monday

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 8/17/17

A decision on whether to allow Tennessee Recovery and Monitoring to locate in the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s workhouse has been delayed until the next Bradley County Commission …

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Workhouse decision is expected by county on Monday

Posted

A decision on whether to allow Tennessee Recovery and Monitoring to locate in the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s workhouse has been delayed until the next Bradley County Commission meeting.

The 14-member governmental group was presented a resolution authorizing the county to enter a five-year lease for the 2,496 square feet available at the workhouse. The cost for the company would be $15,000 for the first year, and $24,000 for each of the remaining four years of the lease.

However, the commissioners did not vote on the resolution earlier this week, and instead said they would place it for a vote on the Aug. 21 agenda. With Monday’s meeting being a work session, they would not have been able to vote on the issue regardless.

Commissioners had placed some restrictions on the available space, primarily that no food service company be located there.

“We said that we do not want a deli out there,” stated Commissioner Milan Blake.

An issue that came up on the space was a proposal by another entity to lease the area. Local attorney Andrew Morgan has said that he would be interested in the site.

However, Blake noted that Morgan’s proposal did not meet the standards set by the commission. Commissioner Charlotte Peak stated that Morgan’s proposal was “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”

That comment was in response to the issue that Tennessee Recovery and Monitoring is owned by the same person who owns Cumberland Bonding. Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson’s wife, Tennille, works for that bonding company.

No decision was made by the commission, which led County Mayor D. Gary Davis to ask the group when they will make that decision.

“You asked me to delay the vote for seven days, which today will be seven days,” Davis said at Monday’s meeting. “We need to make a decision, or change the rules on leasing the space.”

The county mayor said that leasing property is not new, and has been approved in the past.

Commissioner Dan Rawls said he was “taken aback” when he found out Morgan would not be able to make a request on the site, and said that he would speak personally to the local attorney about the commission’s decision.

The resolution authorizing Davis to end into the five-year lease agreement will come before the county on Aug. 21, with a vote by the commission expected.

The issue first came before the land and building committee Monday, which also discussed an existing building on the Lake Forest Middle School campus.

Renovations there have led to four of the existing buildings being proposed for the county archives, but now, one of those buildings might be used for another purpose.

Ben Smith, wrestling coach at Bradley Central High School, told commissioners that other middle schools have wrestling buildings, and as popular as the sport is in Bradley County, Lake Forest should have one, too.

Building No. 12 is the one that is being pinpointed as a possible wrestling facility. Smith said that having a permanent space for the wrestling team will help it from having to transport, by foot, a large and heavy wrestling mat. He added that the classrooms there could be renovated into locker room facilities.

The county would be responsible for heating, air and all electrical work at the site.

“Wrestling is king in Bradley County,” said Commissioner Bill Winters, a former member of the school board. He said he feels the Bradley County Board of Education will agree on the need for the wrestling facility.

“I feel confident the school board will work with us on this project,” said Commissioner Jeff Yarber, who presented the issue to the committee.

Smith said that the community has wanted a wrestling building, and many have said that they will help with funding for the project.

The committee agreed on the proposal, which will need to go before the Bradley County Commission for final approval.

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