The Fiscal Court approved Judge Cannon to begin appointing members to a newly formed Industrial Zoning Committee. The committee will be made up of magistrates and possibly citizens from each district. Cannon said this is not to keep industry away from the county, but rather to set a certain minimum distance from a new industry from a residential area.
"First, we have to define a residential area," Cannon said. "Is it one house? Three? These are things we have to figure out." He said he didn't want to say that a business simply can't come into a certain place because some people may not want it, but the regulations have to be clear cut and all options researched.
He referenced the construction dump that was almost put in operation in Chalybeate a few years ago. "That would've been in an area where there's a lot of nice homes. There would've been lots of consequences if something like that had've happened. We're just trying to protect property values and the styles of living people have," he said.
Cannon asked all magistrates to find qualified candidates to be on the committee as he would reach out to ones he had in mind. The findings will be discussed at next court meeting.
New Salt Bin Construction
The court also approved construction of a new salt bin for the county road department. County Road Foreman Ray Page had spoken in past meetings about the deterioration of the current bins. "It's getting to the point that I'm afraid the EPA is going to fine us," said Page at today's meeting. He also said the road crew can handle the labor to construct the building which will save the county a substantial amount of money. Page said Harlin Tarter has volunteered to help with some concrete forms for the project. Cannon said the exact cost was not yet known, but a small surplus in gas tax money would probably cover the majority of the cost.
Courthouse Square Sidewalk Project
Judge Cannon also reported that the sidewalk project was near completion. He noted that the City of Brownsville voluntarily funded half the project, which they weren't required to do as the property belonged to the county. He commended Mayor Jerry Meredith for his willingness to help and noted that the county and city governments had a great working relationship, something that's not always been seen.
Recreational and Room Taxes Collected
Tourism director Rhonda Clemmons reported that her office had received back taxes from The Blue Holler ATV park in the amount of $2,500, all of which will go to Parks and Rec, and $4,000 from Park Mammoth Resort for their Room Tax share. That amount will be shared between the Tourism and the Parks and Rec departments.
Approval of Semi Annual Night Meetings
The court voted on holding night meetings semi-annually beginning in January. The first of the two meetings will be held on the 4th Monday night in January, the other on the 4th Monday night in July of next year. Mag. Mark Woosley made the motion to hold a meeting each quarter, seconded by Mag. Joe Durbin, with Clark Wood voting with them, however, Magistrates Edd Rich, Buck Simmons, and Johnny Brooks voted against the motion, forcing Judge Cannon to break the tie with another 'no' vote. Cannon said he wanted to see night meetings, so rather than seeing them voted down, he asked for a vote at least for a semi-annual meetings. That vote passed.
Veteran's Courtyard Plans Changed
In recent court meetings, Judge Cannon proposed making improvements to the outside of the courthouse by making a "Veteran's Courtyard." He had discussed the construction of paving stones put down that would have veterans' names engraved in each one. The plan was for citizens to purchase the stones with their choice of names to be engraved. Members of the local DAV attended today's meeting to oppose the construction of the engraved pavers.
"With all due respect for the idea of honoring our veterans, that in lieu of placing the pavers on the ground, a wall be erected in the courthouse yard, similar to the one Park City, to display the engraved pavers," said WWII Veteran and past DAV Commander Wiley Willis in a written statement to the court. Other members of the DAV said the engraved names of fallen soldiers shouldn't be walked on, and that the area that would make up the courtyard is often frequented by people who have "little respect for public property" that throw trash and cigarette butts down on the current pavers.
The court agreed to look into the idea of constructing a memorial wall instead of the walking pavers.
The next Fiscal Court meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 24th, 2015 at 9am.