The Cocke County Legislative Body spent time Monday evening discussing issues with regard to first responders. There is continuing concern First Call ambulances often are not available to respond to emergencies, in part because of COVID-19 issues.
In addition, calls for lift assistance tie up personnel with the ambulance service and fire departments.
Members agreed to schedule a meeting of all the stakeholders to draw up protocols for the handling of those issues.
Shalee McClure recently was appointed Cocke County Clerk, which required her to give up her Fourth District Commission seat. Last evening fellow Fourth District Commissioner Jonathan Laws recommended Jeff Eslinger be appointed to fill the seat and the commission approved the appointment.
Partnership President Lucas Graham reported the new road and pad in the new Highway 25E innovation park has been 85% completed, despite the recent wet weather.
Commissioner David Veridal was appointed to the solid waste board.
The body approved an agreement with District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, who plans to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers on behalf of the county.
The body discussed the naming of the innovation park and agreed the naming is in the purview of the industrial development board. The board has proposed naming the site the Smoky Mountain Innovation Park of Cocke County.
The body also spent time talking about a 2% increase in the hotel/motel tax, up to 5%. There is strong opposition to the tax from rental cabin owners, who are concerned an increase would put them at a disadvantage to rental cabins in Sevier County.
Money from the tax must be earmarked for tourism. That issue is expected to again be addressed at the February meeting.
The body also talked about replacing the current members of the sheriff's department civil service board, but will do more research on the issue before a decision is made.