Progress Made on Solid Waste Issue at Commission Meeting

Monday, 16 April 2018

County County’s governing board made progress on several issues during Saturday’s meeting of Commission members.
After several months of discussion on how to approach the renovations needed to maintain a functioning solid waste program.  The commission voted to accept the three grants totaling $144,550.00 from the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to improve equipment and capabilities.
Based on an earlier discussion between County Executive Mike Gannon and Mayor Andy Duggin about a joint solution to the issue, a committee was formed to explore options. Glen Steakley, a member of the commission and a member of the joint town and county committee gave the group a report on the committee’s findings.  The committee met with experts from government and environment policies and procedures. After reviewing options, the consensus of members from the Alderman side of the committee, was they could not continue until the County agreed to accept the grants from the state.
The commissioners voted unanimously to accept the grants from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Commissioners heard from District Attorney Jennings Jones about the current action underway as 46 counties across Tennessee are working with their district attorneys to address the costs to communities in dealing with opioids.
A representative with Lieff, Cabraser, Heiman & Bernstein also spoke. They are the first law firm who approached the commission about litigation over costs dealing with the opioid crisis.  After hearing from both groups and comparing their approaches, the group decided to engage Lieff, Cabraser, Heiman and Bernstein to represent the county.
During the public comment section of the meeting, commissioners heard comments from a resident of the first district, attorney Nathan Luna.  Luna spoke to commissioners regarding comments he heard during an earlier budget hearing on lowering the salaries of elected officials to assist with reducing operating costs. Luna reminded commissioners that the salary of elected officials are established by state statue.  He mentioned in other counties where this step had been taken and litigation followed, the counties were held financially responsible.  Commissioners decided to table any action on salary reduction of elected officials.
Another suggestion from budget committee meetings dealt with converting the county clerks office from a sales to a salary based operation. After discussion among the group, the decision was to let the new clerk review the operations of the office and develop a plan on addressing the situation.
Other routine business as the approval of notaries and department head reports filled the remainder of the morning. All commission members were present with the exception of Commissioner Brent Bush.