Tuesday night, the Hamblen County Commission ratified a resolution approving a bond sale during a special-called meeting for a second time after questions arose concerning the procedure of the first vote.
Mark Mamantov, attorney for Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, told commissioners that he felt most of the questions raised were moot in nature.
“From a legal perspective, I honestly didn’t think you needed to meet tonight to be honest,” Mamontov said.
The questions stemmed from concerns about the commission’s approval of a $20 million bond resolution in November to help pay for initial fees and construction costs for a new jail to be built next to the current justice center. The bond will also help pay for almost $10 million in renovations at Morristown-Hamblen High School West.
Among the concerns were:
• The initial bond request the commission approved that would allow the county to borrow up to $85 million in bonds if needed to pay for the jail and high school renovations had a typo on the attached certification.
• The timing of a public notice that came out in the Citizen Tribune after the vote on the initial bond resolution and stated it had not been signed by the County Mayor or County Clerk.
• Notices for special-called meetings in October and November were improperly worded and did not specifically outline what was going to be talked about during the meeting, as required by Tennessee’s Sunshine Law.
Mamantov said the public meeting notices complied with Tennessee law and was from a public notice form the company had been used for almost 50 years.
Mamantov also said he thought any questions about specifics for public notices for special-called meetings was irrelevant because the governing body of the committees, the county commission, ratified any of the decisions by committees.
Mamantov said during the month he had spoken to the state’s Open Records Council, as well as holding meetings with the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, and neither had any concerns about how the county proceeded in the bond issues.
“You’re probably at this point saying, ‘Then why did you take me away from dinner tonight?’” Mamantov said. “I wouldn’t blame you for saying this. We’re here to answer your questions.”
The commission approved a second version of the $20 million bond issue 12-2. Commissioners Jeff Akard and Wayne NeSmith voted no again.
County officials said the bond would be issued by Wednesday.