Today is Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Co. commission hears report on local storm damage

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“It decided to tire out before it got there, and we were very lucky that it did,” Jewell said.

Mike Davis, director of Wilson County Schools, reported to the commissioners that Wilson Central High School suffered damage from the tornado that totaled up to $60,000, but also said they were luckier than others that were caught in the storm’s path.

Damage at WCHS included a greenhouse and signage at the school’s sporting facilities, particularly extensive damage to the baseball field’s scoreboard and outfield wall.

Along with Jewell and Davis, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said “it was pretty scary to be out in it,” referring to the weather on Thursday. He commended the deputies and officers of the Sheriff’s Department who were out working and helping those in need that night.

The tornado damaged part of the roof of the Bridgestone distribution facility off Hwy. 109 and injured two people. In addition, four homes nearby were damaged.

Also during Ashe’s report to the commission, he expressed his support for the tracking of the medication pseudoephedrine, which is a major substance used to manufacture methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine is found in many cold medications.

Ashe said there were a number of generic drugs that take care of the same illnesses as pseudoephedrine, but pointed out pseudoephedrine has a certain ingredient the generics do not.

He pointed to a few states that monitor the sale and purchase of pseudoephedrine such as Mississippi and Oklahoma and said both states have experienced a drop in meth labs during the monitoring of the drug.

Ashe also said the loss of federal funds for meth clean-up will hurt his department’s efforts in fighting that drug problem in Wilson County. He said without those funds, they will not be able to carry out an effective clean-up effort on their own.

“If we, the people, are taxed with the clean-up, it’s going to put a strain on our budget,” Ashe said.When voting got underway, the commission passed a resolution to adopt the 2006 International Residential Building Code that would protect homeowners and contractors with new electrical, plumbing and mechanical provisions.

The codes were approved by a vote of 22-0 with District 7 Commissioner Terry Scruggs abstaining. Two commissioners were absent from the proceedings, District 5 Commissioner Jerry McFarland and District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines, who is currently serving overseas in the U.S. Military.

Several commissioners expressed a relief upon passing the codes and a resolution that passed by a margin of 23-0 to hire a certified building inspector with money already contained within the Building Inspector’s Office budget, and to purchase two vehicles for that office’s use.

“I’m glad we’re putting this in place to make our county a safer place to live,” District 20 Commissioner Annette Stafford said, her remark was met with a few calls of “I second that.”

During his opening remarks, County Mayor Randall Hutto said no new money would need to be appropriated to hire the certified inspector to enforce the International Codes and praised the work Sloan is currently doing. He said the position will be filled by June 1 and the inspector will begin enforcing the codes by July 1.

Also during the meeting, the commission approved a resolution to approve a contract for group term life insurance and long term disability insurance with Prudential Insurance Company for three years.

The resolution passed 21-1 with District 10 Commissioner Nathan Clariday voting no and District 3 Commissioner Fred Weston abstaining. Prior to the vote, Weston voiced his disapproval with the amount of money the county was spending on its insurance.

“We spent $9 million last year on this, that’s $15,000 per employee last year,” Weston said, referring to the total insurance expenditures in the previous fiscal year. He asked the Insurance Committee to take this under consideration in their future decisions.

The commission also passed a resolution that would be sent to the state legislature, asking for the Tennessee Department of Transportation to widen Interstate 40 to four lanes from the Mt. Juliet Road exit to the Watertown exit. Another resolution was passed and set to be sent to the state legislature asking TDOT to widen the Highway 109 bridge and approaches over the Cumberland River. The state has already approved replacement of the bridge with work set to begin sometime this year.

Reporting on the county Human Resources ad-hoc committee, Hutto said they had not met since the commission’s last meeting due to the mayor’s own meetings with officials regarding the HR department and manager. Hutto indicated he was confident the commission would see a report next month.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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