The county commission workshop on Monday night featured discussions on topics ranging from a mandatory direct deposit payroll to a proposal for a multi-county waste disposal program. Commissioners were also asked to look at a nuisance ordinance to deal with dilapidated or abandoned property.
The commission will be asked to approve a revised personnel policy at next week’s regular meeting that will require all county employees to be paid by direct deposit instead of paper payroll checks. The school board has approved a similar policy revision to cover school employees, and the program is expected to begin April 1.
The policy will leave the county with the option of issuing paper paychecks for “non-regularly scheduled disbursements” but will be mandatory for all regular salaried and hourly employees.
Mayor E. L. Morton also brought up a proposal that was discussed at a Sanitation Committee meeting last week for a multi-county waste to energy program in partnership with Union County and other neighboring counties.
Union County is promoting the project by Allied Energy Services LLC to develop a waste to energy program that would convert up to 175,000 tons of household waste into bio diesel fuel. Anderson, Claiborne and Grainger counties are also being approached to determine interest.
The tipping fees would depend upon the number of participating counties, but could amount to around $10 per ton if there is enough participation. The project would greatly decrease the tonnage going into area landfills as well as eliminating the need for sorting of garbage since the sorting would be done by machine.
The greatest benefits, of course, would be to union County, including rent from Allied Energy for the Land, income from tipping fees from other counties, conservation of space in existing landfills and local jobs.
Another cooperative program with Union and Anderson counties that Mayor Morton brought up is a cooperative plan for an integrated bicycle trail program that would include Loyston Point, Norris Dam and Big Ridge State Parks. A resolution to approve a feasibility study will be on the commission’s agenda next week.
During the public input period of the workshop, John Brooks, a resident of Cove Norris, asked the commission to consider a program that would deal with cleaning up run-down or abandoned properties. Brooks stated that some residents along Shady Cove Lane leading to the Cove Norris neighborhood have allowed their properties to become eyesores and have a negative effect on property values.
Brooks was told that such enforcement could possibly be done through a nuisance law rather than countywide zoning. “We would have to establish a program and enough funding to enforce it,” Morton explained.
The commission will also vote next week on a resolution opposing school voucher legislation currently being pushed in Nashville. The school board has already approved such a resolution, which has the support of Senator Ken Yeager. Campbell County’s House Representative, Dennis Powers, is firmly supporting vouchers, commissioners were told.
Before the workshop began, Finance Director Jeff Marlow briefly explained the budget process at the Budget & Finance Committee meeting, mostly for the benefit of newly elected commissioners. The commissioners were all provided with thick stacks of budget-related documents to begin the process of coming up with a balanced budget by the end of June. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/15/2019 – 6AM)