Commissioner Adam Lowe presented a motion to accept the Healthy Community Initiative Committee recommendation to the Bradley County Commission Tuesday afternoon. The committee decided the following grant awards: Bradley County Emergency Medical Service - $25,500, Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society - $23,700, Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway - $35,500, Farmers Market North - $4,750 and Prospect Elementary School - $3,000. The total recommendation was $92,450.
Commissioner Mark Hall expressed his disapproval of the grants saying, “I respectfully request the HCI Committee revisit the list of grant awards and include the $30,000 request for the veteran’s home project. We have almost 50,000 veterans in Bradley County. You’d think when a veteran’s project comes along, we would compensate for the underfunding of that department. I am going to do the right thing, even if I’m the only one doing it. I can respect the process but you can’t make me like the results. I’d like to make a substitute motion for the committee to go back and review the allotment of the grants to include the veteran’s home on the list.”
Commissioner Lowe responded, “This is the HCI Committee’s decision. At no time does this need to go back to the committee. This is the recommendation to the commission. The commission has the final decision. I don’t think $30,000 will stall the process. The committee did the work and this is their recommendation. In six months, there will be another grant cycle and the veteran’s home is on the top of the list. HCI will have more money then.”
Commissioner Ed Elkins had a concern with awarding the grant of $23,700 to the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society. Commissioner Lowe explained this was the first time they had been considered for a grant award.
Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones made a substitute motion to take the historical society award off the list and replace it with the veteran’s home, reminding the commission that funding the veteran’s home was one of their top priorities. Commissioner Hall agreed to withdraw his substitute motion. Her motion failed with a vote of six to seven.
Commissioner Mark Hall then made another substitute motion to take the $35,500 grant award for the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway off the list and replace it with the veteran’s home. Commissioner Jeff Morelock said, “Nobody wants the veteran’s home more than I do, but I support Commissioner Lowe’s decision.” Commissioner Connie Wilson said, “We should support our committee and the recommendations they bring to us.” Commissioner Jeff Yarber thanked Commissioner Hall for his passion and said, “We all support the veteran’s home project.”
Commissioner Hall responded, “I think this is a big misunderstanding. I’ve got my eyes on the prize. I just ask that you all vote with your conscience.” His substitute motion failed with a vote of five to eight.
Commissioner Lowe’s motion to accept the original grant award recommendation from the HCI Committee passed with a vote of 10 to three.
In other business, a motion to sign a new three-year contract for inmate medical care with the approval of the Finance Committee passed unanimously. A resolution to request the governor and General Assembly’s support on legislation relative to mental evaluations for misdemeanors also passed unanimously. A resolution relative to the animal control contract with the City of Cleveland passed with a vote of nine to four.
The Bradley County Commission presented their assistant Amy Moore with a farewell luncheon prior to the meeting and a plaque honoring her service. Chairman Louie Alford presented the plaque saying, “It is with great honor and deep appreciation that we recognize you for your tireless efforts as our administrative assistant and for your 15 years of service to Bradley County.” Ms. Moore is stepping down to pursue another career endeavor.
Commissioner Peak-Jones made a motion to move the legislative administrator position to the county mayor’s office saying, “It is best for the tax payers to put $40,000 back in the budget and eliminate this position. Commissioner Brian Smith made a substitute motion for the position to stay like it is. Commissioner Bill Winters said, “This will help us be more efficient. I think it is good to have someone that works directly with us.” The substitute motion passed with a vote of 11 to two with Commissioners Hall and Peak-Jones voting no. Chairman Alford will assign a committee to review applications for the position.
The Bradley County Commission will hold its next work session meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.