Wayne County Commission Mourns Passing of Commissioner Dr. Joe Hall

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   The Wayne County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, November 16th, 2020. County Executive Jim Mangubat presided over the meeting. Commissioners in attendance, either in-person or virtually, were Herbert Brewer, Tom Mathis, Tim Powell, Phillip Casteel, Vickie Petty, Stephen Pevahouse, Tim Prater, John McDonald, Kathryn Staggs, Sherrie Powers, David Martin, Mary Lauren Garner, and Rickey Kelley. Also in attendance were County Clerk Stan Horton and County Attorney Andy Yarbrough.

   A white ribbon adorned the podium of County Commissioner Dr. Joe Hall, who lost his battle with COVID-19 and passed away on November 12th, 2020.

   Commissioner Kelley first made a motion to approve the minutes of the October commission meeting. Commissioner Prater seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

   Commissioner Kelley then made a motion to approve the committee minutes as presented, and Commissioner Garner seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously passed.

   Commissioner Kelley made a motion to approve the Building Committee minutes, and Commissioner Prater seconded. Those minutes were approved as well.

   County Clerk Horton presented the following to serve as notaries with approved bonds: Coty Smith, Tammy Graham, Johnny V. Heard, and Keddith Andrews. Commissioner Powell made a motion to approve, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Pevahouse. The notaries were unanimously approved.

   Under old business on the agenda, an update was given on the Boyd Cottages Assisted Living payroll. County Financial Clerk Lisa Morton told the commission that Boyd Cottages was approximately $96,000.00 behind in payments on payroll debt to the county, but that they recently made $62,000.00 in payments to the county and have agreed to pay $4,000.00 per month until the debt is caught up.

   Next, County Executive Mangubat asked Mrs. Morton to address the allocated money for Wayne County from the TN CARES Act. She said that Wayne County has been approved for and should receive $248,370.00.

   An update on the county water lines was next. County Executive Mangubat said that the State Comptroller has reviewed and does support the plans for the cities to take over the county’s water lines.

   Next was an update on the road next to the Franklin Cole property. County Executive Mangubat said that he spoke with TDOT about the project, and the drainage on the east side of the roadway has been completed. More repairs are needed on the west side of the culvert under Highway 13.

   The sale of the county-owned former Angelica building in Collinwood was next on the agenda. Commissioner Casteel made a motion to place the building up for sale by sealed bids, with the minimum bid to be set at $250,000.00. Commissioner McDonald seconded the motion, and the motion passed on roll call vote with Commissioners Casteel, McDonald, Garner, Mathis, Pevahouse, Powell, Petty, Powers, Martin, and Staggs voting yes; and Commissioners Brewer, Prater, and Kelley voting no. It was noted that proceeds from the sale of the building will be placed into Fund 171 for future capital projects.

   Next under new business, Commissioner Powers made a motion to transfer up to $250,000.00 for the CDBG grant match for the Collinwood Medical Clinic from the State OBF Grand Fund (Fund 101).The motion was seconded by Commissioner Petty, and passed unanimously on roll call vote.

   Department reports were next on the agenda. Sheriff Shane Fisher first gave a report on the Wayne County Jail and Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, including the statistics of 251 arrests made since July 1st, and 455 warrants served. He also reported that the Sheriff’s Office recently received a clean audit from the state.

   Road Superintendent Chuck Moser then gave a report on his department, stating that they are mostly doing maintenance right now, and two new dump trucks have been ordered.

   Commissioner Powers then made a motion to adopt lower speed limits on five roads in her district: Piney Road – 35 mph, Wright Ridge Road – 35 mph, Bevis Ridge Road – 45 mph, Barkley Branch – 35 mph, and Craig Road – 35 mph. She said that many of her constituents who live on those roads had contacted her about wanting to see a posted lower speed limit. Commissioner Petty seconded the motion. On point of order called by Commissioner Kelley, it was noted that Commissioner McDonald would need to rescind his motion made in a previous meeting to table the speed limit discussion, and Commissioner Staggs would need to rescind her second. After first declining to rescind his motion, Commissioner McDonald then said that he would indeed like to rescind, and Commissioner Staggs rescinded her second. Commissioner Powers then again made the motion to reduce the speed limits on the roads listed, and Commissioner Petty seconded the motion. The motion passed on roll call vote with Commissioners Powers, Petty, Brewer, Garner, Mathis, Pevahouse, Prater, and Staggs voting yes; and Commissioners McDonald, Casteel, Martin, and Kelley voting no.

   Commissioner Brewer then made a motion to add Buttermilk Ridge Road to the list of lower posted speed limits at 45 mph. Commissioner Garner seconded the motion, and it passed on roll call vote with Commissioners Brewer, Garner, Mathis, Pevahouse, Prater, Powell, Petty, and Staggs voting yes; and Commissioners McDonald, Casteel, Powers, Martin, and Kelley voting no.

   School Superintendent Marlon Davis gave a report on the current school situation. He said that Wayne County Schools will not continue in-person learning until after the Thanksgiving break due to the recent spike in county COVID-19 cases. After the break, students will return to the modified A/B schedule, with students attending in-person two days per week. Superintendent Davis went on to inform the commission that a total of 61 students and 35 staff members had tested positive for COVID since August 4th.

   Solid Waste Director Robert Hayes next gave a brief report on his department. Commissioner Garner made a motion to approve the placement of America’s Thrift Store bins at the Solid Waste Facility contingent upon County Attorney Yarbrough’s approval of the agreement. Commissioner Kelley seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

   Commissioner Mathis then made a motion to combine the parcels of land at the Industrial Park that had been specified for the new Ag Center. Commissioner Brewer seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. County Executive Mangubat then presented the following to serve on the steering committee for the Ag Center development: Tom Mathis, Phillip Casteel, Harry Floyd, Martin Haggard, Jr., and Joy Powell. There was no dissension from the commission.

   The final item of business on the agenda was a proposed resolution to change Wayne County’s judicial district. Following remarks from Judge James Ross, who supports the change, and District Attorney General Brent Cooper, who opposes the change, Commissioner Garner made a motion to table the resolution until the commission has more time to study it. Commissioner Powers seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

   With no further business to come before the commission, Commissioner Kelley made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Prater seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned.

   There will be no County Commission meeting in the month of December 2020.