Judge Michael Sharp swears in 4th District Commissioner Charlotte Peak Jones
photo by Tonya Brantley
During the Bradley County Commission voting session meeting Monday evening, Commissioner Ed Elkins said, “Last week I reported on a situation down in the McDonald area or Exit 20 area involving some stormwater runoff. Subsequent to the meeting last week, I did learn that it had been looked at by TDEC and the environmental engineers from the city of Cleveland and I was assured that corrective action was in place to correct that.” Mr.
Elkins was referring to the stormwater runoff coming from road and industrial development projects near Spring Branch causing muddy water to flow into Brymer Creek.
During communication from the audience, Dan Rawls addressed the commission stating, “This situation out in McDonald is why the people of McDonald were opposed to this. I don’t know if anyone has seen the video of the degradation of that creek, but you were warned about it from the beginning. Who is accountable for this? The people who are affected by this are in the county. How can you allow that to happen to a waterway that’s that clean and that recognized? We were all told that would never happen. Who is accountable, the government, the people who did it or the contractors? What’s the answer here? What’s going on? We tried to warn you that this was going to happen. Why were the systems not put in place to have prevented this in the first place? I fought this thing for over a year and they’ve fought it longer than that. I think there needs to be some answers and some apologies to the people that live out there around that creek that warned you about this.”
Commissioner Elkins responded, “The permit for that project was issued to the city of Cleveland. They have responsibility for it. The contractor did not take the necessary precautions and that was unfortunate. Once TDEC was notified, they did get on it and got the city down there. It’s kind of like closing the barn door once the horse escaped, but I’m told they are taking precautions to do that now. Clearly someone dropped the ball.”
Commissioner Peak Jones said, “The city of Cleveland does have precautions in place for that process. Where it fell through, nobody knows.”
Commissioner Elkins commented, “The city annexed that area and they pulled the general permit for that project to do the road. So, Bradley County really has no jurisdiction over it. I guess we could file a complaint with the city because where the damage is being done is inside Bradley County. It falls under the city to explore it. I think it would be appropriate for us to file a complaint with them and ask them to do this.”
Commissioner Yarber suggested Commission Assistant Amy Moore provide more information regarding the matter and recommended further discussion at a future work session to come up with a thought process to put in place on how to handle the situation.
Commissioner Adam Lowe said, “We went to great lengths to have meetings with people in that community. I remember listening to a very healthy active discussion about the pros and cons and figuring out how to mitigate as much as we could. I’m having trouble recalling if anyone from the city was there but it was prior to the annexation. Right now, I’m a little shattered about going to such great lengths as a county commission to try to hear from the constituents in that area. It was such a high priority in my opinion. I feel like for some reason, somewhere it stopped being a high priority.”
Chairman Alford said, “Me and Mrs. Moore will get in touch with people from the city regarding the matter tomorrow to try to get more information. That is, if they are willing to meet with us.”
In New business, a motion to approve a statutory bond for Assessor of Property Stanley Thompson in the amount of $50,000 and several consent agenda items passed unanimously.
Prior to the meeting, Charlotte Peak Jones was sworn in as 4th District Commissioner. Bradley County Circuit Court Judge Michael Sharp said, “It is a pleasure and an honor to swear her in. I have known Charlotte for a long time. I’ve known Charlotte to be a person of integrity, honesty and humility.” Commissioner Peak Jones is the owner of K.A.C.E. Construction & Developments and Charlotte’s Wallpaper. She will serve until 2014.
Also prior to their meeting, commissioners selected a new chairman and vice chairman. Commissioner Ed Elkins nominated Commissioner Louie Alford to continue his position as chairman. No other nominations were given. Commissioner Brian Smith nominated Commissioner Jeff Yarber for the position of Vice Chairman and Commissioner Bill Ledford nominated current Vice Chairman Mark Hall. Commissioner Hall said, “I don’t think any commissioner should serve as chairman or vice chairman for more than two years, so I’d like to withdraw my name from the vote.” With that, Commissioner Jeff Yarber was voted in as the new vice chairman.
The Bradley County Commission will hold its next work session meeting next Monday at noon.