Another Push To Be Made To Fund New Lake Forest Middle School; Bradley Commissioners Still Search For Animal Services Answer

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bradley County Commissioner Adam Lowe said he will call for a new vote to find a $14 million project at Lake Forest Middle School.

Commission members a week ago had voted 11-3 against a 7.72-cent property tax increase for the project.

Commissioner Lowe was among those in opposition, but he said at the time there were other choices the commission could have made to balance the budget and still have room to pay the debt service for the school. He said one would have been for commission members to forego insurance coverage.

Opponents at the time agreed there was a dire need at the school, but said it was a bad time to raise taxes, coming on top of an 18-cent rise by the Cleveland City Council. Many residents in outlying fire districts will also be paying more next year, it was noted.

Voting in favor were the sponsor, Jeff Morelock, Connie Wilson and Robert Rominger.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones questioned whether a full $14 million was needed for the project involving two buildings.

She said, "Lee University just built a monstrosity of a building for $10 million. It's a lot bigger" than the Lake Forest project.

Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber noted that officials were told that ongolng maintenance of the current sub-standard school costs $2 million per year.

Commissioners again discussed the issue of what to do about stray animals out in the county after a citizen made a tearful statement about the current situation.

Chairman Louie Alford said the county had "made a very fair offer to the city and they turned us down twice."

Commissioner Lowe recommended that a private group get involved, saying that would be more effective than government trying to handle it.

Commissioner Peak-Jones spoke of the possibility of the county finding an unused building and letting volunteers and prisoners operate an animal shelter.

Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber said he continues to believe that the county is going to wind up in the animal services business at a higher cost than it was formerly spending through a contract with the city.    

Trustee Mike Smith gave a report in which he noted that a partial payment plan is being well received. He said 573 are on the program.

Chairman Alford said he is signed up for it. He noted, "It is very beneficial for us poor people."

Trustee Smith said the city of Charleston has seen a sharp rise in tax income. He said it may mainly be tied to a new Piggly Wiggly with lots of customers from the Wacker construction project.

He said a new investment policy for the trustee's office has yielded $4,165,550 in returns since it was installed in 2006.

He said the county banks with the Bank of Cleveland and CapitalMark after getting the best bids from them.

A voting meeting of the Bradley County Commission will be next Monday at noon.

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