TOP PHOTO: Construction continues on the Gen. Carl Stiner Hwy (Hwy 63) and so do the complaints.

JACKSORO, TN (WLAF) – Construction on Highway 63 and citizen complaints were discussed at Monday evening’s county commission workshop. Several commissioners said they had received phone calls regarding issues with the road construction in front of Food Lion and going up the valley. Several complaints were related to how unsafe the traffic pattern and turn offs were, while other complaints were regarding additional traffic on Davis Chapel Road and other back roads from those trying to avoid the construction. 

According to Commissioner Rusty Orick, four accidents have occurred in the first three weeks of the traffic pattern. He said he was concerned there would be a fatality if something wasn’t done. “I have traveled it; it’s confusing and dangerous how they have that traffic pattern set up,” Orick said. He told commissioners he had drafted a letter to send to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, asking them to look at the problem and to see if the state could redesign it to be “safer for the citizens.”

Orick asked for a straw vote to make sure he had the full support of the commission and the county mayor before sending the letter. He also plans to send a copy to the state representative and state senator in Nashville. All 11 commissioners present at the online meeting expressed their approval of the letter.

Commissioner Scotty Kitts said he had also received complaints and was concerned about the additional traffic that was flooding the back roads and speeding in neighborhoods. It was suggested he talk to the sheriff’s department about having a deputy patrol the area for speeders.

In other business discussed, commissioners heard from County EMS Director Bruce Perkins about the need to raise EMS patient charges. According to Perkins, the county is far behind surrounding counties in what it charges commercial insurance companies for EMS services. 

“Our billing company said something has to be done; we are so far behind surrounding counties,” Perkins said. He compiled a spreadsheet of what surrounding counties charge for services and came up with new numbers. For example, the county currently charges $731 for a specialty transport. If rate increases are approved, the cost would increase to $1,068. This would mainly affect commercial insurance companies as Tenn Care only pays a fixed rate as does Medicare. 

“This will help the EMS generate more revenue and bring us up to average cost on services. We’ve got to raise these rates,” Perkins said. 

The commission will vote on the issue at next week’s meeting. 

The approval of the campground layout at Lonas Young Park will be on next week’s agenda, as will the possibility of raising the rate for the disposal of tires at the sanitation department. Commissioner Ralph Davis said he plans to make a motion to raise the rate of tire disposal from 80 cents to $1 in order to cover the rising cost that the county is facing. “We have to do something to offset this shortfall,” Davis said. 

Other issues discussed included how the county could collect delinquent funds from unpaid balances at the sanitation station. County Attorney Joe Coker discussed several options with the commission, including going through civil court to seek judgement or going through the sheriff’s department, the district attorney and the criminal court. He said he would revisit recommendations from CTAS and send them to commissioners. This issue may be brought up at next week’s meeting as well. 

Several budget amendments will also be on next week’s agenda.

The commission will meet online via Zoom on Monday, Dec. 21 at 6 pm. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/15/2020-6AM)