Features Politics

February County Commission Recap

Between committee updates and votes, this month’s county commission meeting found a packed agenda. Let’s walk through the highlights of what happened.

As always, the full meeting video can be found at the bottom of this page.

Commission Votes

Each of the following received unanimous votes from the commissioners:

  • Amanda Hazelbaker was appointed to the Planning Commission. She replaces Randy Cowley, who resigned last month.
  • The commission established Medicaid and TennCare rates as the max rates for inmate medical services. As of this month, the county has saved over $100,000 through discussions with Harton, St. Thomas, and Vanderbilt over medical charges for inmates.
  • Several budget amendments passed for various purchases such as $20,000 for extended detention times for two juvenile cases, $25,063 for a new server in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office, $130,751 towards a new school bus, $6,735 for repairs at the Dellrose Volunteer Fire and Rescue building, and $2,824 towards the LCHS head soccer coach and assistant coach.

Department and Committee Reports

In the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities Annual Update, Chairman Mike Gooding presented the current state and future plans for the county water system. Gooding touched on a wide range of topics including contract negotiates with Fayetteville Public Utilities, the search for redundant water sources, as well as system improvements to better find and stop leaks.

LCBPU currently has over 700 miles of pipe with an average of 13 customers per mile. As a comparison, most rural water systems have 30 customers per mile. Despite the challenges, Gooding and the board have done an excellent job bringing leaks under control as well as preparing for growth down the road. You can read the full Annual Update here.

County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Doug Campbell presented an update on the last month. Since 2015, the county volunteer firefighters have seen a 30% increase in call volume with January seeing 11% more calls compared to the previous year. Campbell said, “We’ve not been able to equate that to hours yet. But at $23 an hour, which is the worth of a volunteer in the state of Tennessee, it’s quite a cost savings to the citizens of Lincoln County.” Campbell went on to point out, “As county commissioners, you should be aware of this and know that our trucks are running up and down the roads every day. It’s all 100% volunteers that’s staffing this.”

In the most anticipated update of the meeting, Sheriff Murray Blackwelder provided commissioners with information packets with material related to the recent situation between a female sheriff’s department employee and a Fayetteville city police officer. When laying out the city police officer’s disciplinary actions, Blackwelder said, “I think there’s no doubt it happened. I even have apologies from the city that says it happened. Where I got upset is because I felt like two days was not enough penalty for that kind of treatment of any female.”

With a dozen sheriff’s department employees in the room, Blackwelder went on to say, “I took a stand for her and I would take that same stand for any of these people back here. It’s about the integrity of law enforcement.” Scattered applause broke out in support of the sheriff as he finished his remarks before the commission.

The full county commission meeting can be seen below. Mark your calendars for next month’s meeting on March 20th at 6pm.

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