Cocke County Legislative Body agrees to sell large portion of county-owned property

The Cocke County Legislative Body addressed the issue of lifting assistance.

The community has seen an increase in the number of calls by residents who have fallen and cannot get up. Answering the call ties up the agency that responds, be it First Call EMS, a fire department or the Newport Rescue Squad. In recent months First Call EMS has been at zero level in Cocke County on a number of occasions and has been unavailable to respond to true emergencies. Often recently fire departments and the rescue squad have been dispatched to provide lifting services.

The body agreed to allow agencies to access a $50 fee after the agency responds to a home twice on a lift call within one month.

In other action, Commissioner Terry Dawson, who chairs the solid waste board, announced a public hearing on the planned landfill expansion is scheduled for 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5 in the chancery courtroom. GFL Environmental also is expected to detail its plan to add compactors at all convenience centers. The firm also wants to talk about an extension to its current contract to landfill county garbage.

Finance Manager Heather McGaha said some of Cocke County’s long term debt has been refinanced at a savings of $236,485.

Mayor Crystal Ottinger reported the Tennessee Department of Transportation is preparing to extend its Smart Way program on I-40 through Cocke County, which will allow for better monitoring of traffic flow through the community.

The mayor also reported a new state funded drug rehab program soon will be offered in Cocke County.

She also said a public hearing is planned to accept input on the location of waterline extensions in the community.

Ottinger asked the body to approve her request to apply for a matching grant to develop a park, behind the Del Rio Post Office on the French Broad River. She reported Tommie Dean Jones donated the needed land.

The project has a price tag of $240,000, but Ottinger said the $20,000 value of the land can be used as part of the match, and with other in-kind work, the county would be responsible for the additional $60,000.

The body also approved the acceptance of a $500,000 grant to be used to rehabilitate homes of low income residents in the county. A community meeting on the program is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29 in the circuit courtroom.

Justin Comer-Jensen, who has been a military purchasing agent, was hired as the county’s new purchasing agent.

The body agreed to sell a small parcel of land near the former ACE products site on the Industrial Road to the adjacent Incredible Tiny Homes. The land is located between the railroad tracks and the river. It will be purchased for $25,000.

The body delayed action to name the new innovation park on Highway 25E.

Commissioner Forest Clevenger again called on the body to increase the hotel/motel tax.