JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Commission gave its final stamp of approval on Monday night to the $97.3 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year which, thanks in part to an infusion of federal America Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, will not cost a cent in additional property tax funding, with the property tax rate of $2.0659 remaining unchanged from the current year rate.

Before getting down to business, the commission took time to recognize the county’s first responders through a proclamation offered by Robert Higginbotham proclaiming June 21 as “Campbell County Local Emergency Responder Appreciation Day.” Leaders of Campbell County Ambulance Service, LaFollette Fire Dept. and VitalCare Ambulance were on hand to receive their certificates while all local volunteer fire departments and the Campbell County Rescue Squads were also recognized.

State Rep. Dennis Powers also briefly attended the meeting to give a report on new bills passed in the recently adjourned state legislative session. Powers listed the balanced budget, increase in the state’s rainy day fund and some controversial new laws including a ban on teaching “critical race theory” in public schools and an “election integrity bill” as among the legislative accomplishments.

In addition to the budget, commissioners also unanimously approved all budget amendments previously passed by the budget committee, including one that appropriates $2.5 million in federal ARP funds as matching funds in partnership with LaFollette Utilities to extend public water into previously unserved rural areas. Another $320,000 in ARP money will go toward construction of a new sheriff’s department office building with drive-through windows for the county clerk and trustee offices.

Another matter brought up for discussion is Campbell County’s lawsuit, along with several other counties, against drug manufacturing giant Perdue Pharma over the company’s promotion of opioid pain medicine that has led to countless addictions. The commission was advised that the courts have brokered a settlement that all parties are encouraged to accept, but no dollar amount was mentioned.

The commission recessed the meeting until Tuesday, June 29, when both commission and school board will meet at 5 pm and 6 pm to finalize any budget changes that might be necessary before the end of the fiscal year. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/24/2021-6AM)