JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The county commission workshop featured a mixture of important issues, such as a possible pay raise for county employees and near unworkable problems, such as a critical shortage of ambulance availability at times, particularly in the Jellico area. Watch the meeting HERE on demand from WLAF.
The workshop also grew a bit tense at times, with some commissioners getting into heated exchanges that forced chairman Johnny Bruce to intercede.
In addition to complaints from Jellico about ambulance availability, the public address portion of the workshop featured a presentation/sales pitch from Scott Chase about the advantages of energy upgrades offered by his company Future Energy Solutions, and another plea from the pastor of Truth & Love Rescue Ministries for more support in its efforts to serve the county’s homeless population, estimated at 150-200 people in LaFollette alone.
Maria Partin also asked the commission for a change in the county’s wheel tax ordinance to eliminate the sticker, but not the tax. Partin, the deputy county clerk, explained that a license renewal decal can also include a “wheel tax paid” label that will save the county $1,800 a year in label printing costs.
Partin said that enforcement of the wheel tax won’t be affected since only those residents who buy new or used vehicles from out-of-county dealers would be able to get tags without the wheel tax and those people are monitored by a state computer system. New vehicle owners who fail to come in and pay the wheel tax will get letters and be subject to court penalties if they fail to comply.
Mayor E.L. Morton explained his request for the county to refund an ARC grant so that Highland Telephone Cooperative can qualify for the same grant in an agreement for Highland to expand broadband service in Campbell County. A disagreement over who would sponsor the motion at the commission meeting led to a heated exchange between Commissioners Rusty Orick and Scott Kitts, with Bruce being forced to call both out of order. Kitts was called down several more times as the meeting went on for speaking out of turn and also got into a brief exchange with Commissioner Ralph Davis.
Davis, in addition to bringing up several motions from the building and grounds and sanitation committees, suggested another, rather unusual idea about offering Campbell County as a resting place for displaced monuments. The idea, Davis explained, would be to welcome any memorials that have been displaced by the current wave of cancel culture around the country.
“If they don’t want it, we do,” Davis suggested, apparently modeling the idea after a suggestion by Congressman Tim Burchett to create a rejected monument park in Knox County. Since most of the so-called rejected monuments presumably honor Confederate heroes such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson or Nathan Bedford Forrest, little was said about the fact that the vast majority of Campbell County residents are descended from Civil War veterans who fought for the Union and the county had to be placed under Confederate military occupation because of overwhelming pro-Union sentiment. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/15/2021-6AM)