The Wayne County Commission met in regular session on Monday, May 16, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. County Executive Jim Mangubat called the meeting to order. County Clerk Stan Horton called the roll, and commissioners in attendance were Tom Mathis, Logan Shull, Stephen Pevahouse, Colby McDonald, Tyler McDonald, Jeremy Heard, Stan Hanback, Sherrie Powers, Kathryn Staggs, David Martin, Vickie Petty, and Rickey Kelley. Also in attendance were County Clerk Stan Horton and County Attorney Andy Yarbrough. Commissioner Alvin Creecy was absent.
State Senator Page Walley addressed the commission and gave a brief update on legislation that was considered during the recent General Assembly session. He said that Tennessee has the lowest debt per capita in the country, along with the lowest taxes. The legislature was able to pass a balanced budget before their recess; $223 million has been included in the budget for school safety. Every county in the state will have a Homeland Security officer to answer questions and assist wherever needed.
Senator Walley also discussed the current issue with Wayne Medical Center and said he will help in any way possible to keep the hospital open.
State Representative Kip Capley was present at the meeting as well, and briefly stood to tell the commission that he is available to all his constituents for anything they may need.
Commissioner Kelley then made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting as presented. Commissioner Powers noted that the name of the Alliant Group in the minutes from the last meeting was misstated as the Alliance Group. Commissioner Staggs seconded the motion to approve the minutes with the correction, and the minutes were approved.
Commissioner Kelley made a motion to approve the minutes from the various committee meetings. Commissioner Martin seconded, and the committee minutes were approved as well.
County Clerk Horton presented ten names to be approved as notaries: Robyn Rae Davidson, Elizabeth Teeftaller, Macayla Renee Crews, Billy E. Kelly, Lorri Cook, Richard Long, Bruce Moyer, Savannah Brown, Patricia Pigg, and Scott Kelly. Commissioner Mathis made a motion to approve the notaries, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Heard. The notaries were unanimously approved.
Various line-item budget amendments were next on the agenda, including amendments in the Sheriff’s Office, the schools, and the Highway Department. Commissioner Mathis made a motion to approve the budget amendments, and Commissioner Colby McDonald seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Next on the agenda was the nomination to select a new 1st District Commissioner to fill the seat of the late Herbert Brewer. Commissioner Heard nominated Patrick Butler, and the nomination was seconded by Commissioner Mathis. Commissioner Petty nominated David Miller, and Commissioner Kelley seconded. Commissioner Kelley then made a motion for nominations to cease, seconded by Commissioner Powers.
Patrick Butler briefly addressed the commission, speaking about his family and his interest in the community. David Miller was not present at the meeting. Upon roll call vote, Patrick Butler was unanimously selected as 1st District Commissioner.
Charlie Brinkley, Maury Regional CFO, next addressed the commission briefly. He said that Maury Regional has answered all questions from the Alliant Group, and will continue to provide information they ask for. He noted that there is a meeting scheduled for May 22 to discuss the Collinwood Medical Building.
County Executive Mangubat gave a water update, stating that he had received the signed contract from the City of Collinwood to take over their water lines as agreed. He said he had spoken with both Hardin County and western Lauderdale County, AL officials, and both have issues and are not sure about taking over any of Wayne County’s water lines. Commissioner Petty made a motion to approve the signed contract, which releases the Eagle Truss and Chisholm Road lines to the City of Collinwood. Commissioner Martin seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Next, Commissioner Powers made a motion to release the ARPA funds to pay the Perfection Group for the paving project around the courthouse. The total amount due is $131,630, which the county will pay in full before reimbursement from the City of Waynesboro for their half. Commissioner Mathis seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
As everyone present at the meeting had already observed, the air conditioning at the Administrative Building (old courthouse) is once again not working properly. The Perfection Group is still in the process of upgrading the building’s HVAC system, but as maintenance supervisor Casey Jones explained, the system’s cooling tower has gone out and cannot be repaired before next week at the earliest. Matt Callahan from the Perfection Group was able to speak to the commission on speaker phone and said that he had the necessary parts to fix the cooling tower on his yard, but was having an issue getting them transported to Waynesboro. He promised to call Casey the next day and give an update on when the system will be cooling again.
Next on the agenda was the awarding of bids to mow the Wayne County Industrial Park on Highway 13 South. The winner of the bid pays the county for being allowed to keep all the hay they mow. The two bids received were from W.C. Risner in the amount of $1,050, and from Cindy Vaden in the amount of $800. Commissioner Shull said that he thought both bids were too low, and made a motion to put the mowing back out for bids. Commissioner Kelley seconded the motion. On roll call vote, Commissioners Heard, Hanback, Petty, Staggs, Martin, and Colby McDonald voted no. Commissioners Shull, Kelley, Staggs, Pevahouse, Mathis, Powers, and Tyler McDonald voted yes (to put bids out again). This created a tie vote, with six voting no and six voting yes. County Executive Mangubat had to cast the tie-breaking vote, and voted no.
Priscilla Dygert was presented next to be appointed to the Library Board. Commissioner Staggs made a motion to approve, and Commissioner Hanback seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Appointments to the Wayne County Industrial Board were next. Autry Gobbell and Martin Haggard were presented to be re-appointed to the board, and John McDonald was presented to be a new board member. Commissioner Mathis made a motion to approve, and Commissioner Powers seconded. The IDB member appointments were unanimously approved.
The IDB by-laws were next presented for approval. Commissioner Mathis made a motion to approve, and Commissioner Powers seconded. The motion passed on roll call vote, with Commissioner Kelley casting the only “no” vote.
At this point, the commission went back to the Industrial Park mowing bids. Commissioner Colby McDonald made a motion to award the mowing bid to W.C. Risner. Commissioner Staggs seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Boyd Cottages Assisted Living was next on the agenda. Commissioner Petty stated that all the rooms that were damaged when the water lines froze and burst last Christmas have been fixed and just need cleaning up. A discussion followed regarding the intent of the county to put the facility up for sale at the recommendation of the budget committee. Commissioner Colby McDonald made a motion to approve the start of the bidding process to sell the facility. Commissioner Staggs seconded the motion. County Executive Mangubat said that he would contact the brokers who have shown interest in finding potential buyers for the facility. He went on to inform the commission that Boyd Cottages currently owes for four payrolls the county has covered. Following further discussion, County Attorney Yarbrough advised that a motion should first be made to sell the facility. Commissioner Colby McDonald then rescinded his earlier motion, and Commissioner Staggs rescinded her second. Commissioner Powers made a motion for the county to sell the Boyd Cottages Assisted Living facility, and Commissioner Colby McDonald seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Department reports were next on the agenda. Solid Waste Director Robert Hayes presented slides of the piles of storm debris that have been taken to the staging site off Highway 13 North. The tornado that struck the Clifton and Beech Creek communities on March 31 produced a huge amount of damage, with many homes needing to be completely torn down. At the last commission meeting, a motion was passed to extend the county’s payment for seven roll-off dumpsters at the tornado debris site until the May meeting. At this meeting, Commissioner Kelley made a motion to further extend the dumpsters until the next commission meeting in June. Commissioner Tyler McDonald seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Director Hayes then asked for the approval of surplus items, including tires and a camper shell. Commissioner Kelley made a motion to declare the items as surplus, and Commissioner Colby McDonald seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Mathis mentioned that there are two districts not represented on the Solid Waste Committee. No action was taken at that time.
Highway Superintendent Chuck Moser addressed the commission next. He asked for approval of a
National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant to clean the streams that are full of tornado debris. The grant is a 75/25, with NRCS to pay $460,000 and the county to pay $153,000. Commissioner Kelley made a motion to release ARPA funds in the amount of $153,000 for the grant match amount. Commissioner Staggs seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Sheriff Shane Fisher stepped up to the podium to answer any questions the commission may have had, but none were asked.
EMA Director Brian Smith gave a brief update on the tornado cleanup, and thanked all those who have been involved in the process. He then asked for approval to spend $50,000 of ARPA money for the purchase of two fire engines. Commissioner Mathis made a motion to release the funds, and Commissioner Martin seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Administrative Assistant Cindy Risner said that there will be approximately $117,000 left in ARPA funds after the funds are disbursed from this evening.
Commissioner Powers next brought up the live streaming of commission and committee meetings. She said that in her opinion, people watching online do not get a full picture of what goes on at these meetings, and other commissioners agreed. Commissioner Mathis said that he encourages anyone interested in the County Commission proceedings to come in person if they are able. Commissioner Powers made a motion to only live stream the regular County Commission meetings and not committee meetings. Commissioner Mathis seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Former Commissioner John McDonald, who was in the audience at the meeting, addressed the commission regarding his concern that the HVAC repair/installation contract is not being followed by the Perfection Group. He said that they are not planning to install any new duct work, and that along with some other issues need to be addressed.
With no further business to come before the commission, Commissioner Kelley made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Powers seconded, and the meeting was adjourned.