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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Cocke Finance Committee
Members of the Cocke County Finance Committee meeting Monday evening agreed to recommend that the full Legislative body purchase a new breathing air system, to replace the one that is worn out. The system is used by the Cocke County Fire Department to fill air tanks needed to fight interior fires. The new system will cost $34,000, but bids for new systems had ranged up to $54,000. Fire Chief Keith Large reported that the department has hired three new firefighters in an effort to reduce overtime costs. But Committee member Gary Carver pointed out that a five man staff on each shift still requires overtime. While more firefighters could be hired, paying overtime may be less costly because of the benefits that are required for full-time employees, which drive up the costs. Commissioner Terry Dawson said efforts were made previously to fill vacancies in the department but the positions were not filled until recently. Chair of the committee, Commissioner Forrest Clevenger termed it "bad management", adding that the vacancies in the department meant a cost in overtime of $250,000 over the last two years. Chief Large said his hands have been tied for the last 15 months; "it's not only the mayor, its the community," he told the committee. The chief also argued for more fire hydrants to provide available water for fighting fires. He argued that individuals should not be required to pay for a hydrant that will serve a larger area. Clevenger suggested the CLB have a meeting with representatives of Newport Utilities to discuss a way to resolve the hydrant issue. And he argued again for increased volunteer personnel for the fire department. Chief Deputy Derrick Woods of the sheriff's department reported that QCHC, which is under contract to provide medical services to the jail, has increased its monthly charge by $255, up to $15,255. Such an increase is a part of the contract with the county. Woods went on to report that the firm has been able to negotiate a reduced billing on the part of the Newport Medical Center. A recent $168,000 bill was reduced to $16,000. Clevenger suggested some of the current county contracts are "woefully inadequate" and he argued for more review before contracts are signed. The body approved a requested budget transfer in the Highway Department budget which moves a total of $372,000 into the asphalt budget. The committee agreed to ask that important issues be presented to the committee and the legislative body prior to meetings. Commissioner Dawson said when issues are presented for a decision during a meeting, there is little time for studying the issue before a decision is made.

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

  • Cocke County Jail break-in
  • 2018 was a deadly drug year
  • Wyse denied re-sentencing
  • Females charged with disorderly house

    Friday, July 19, 2019

  • Partnership discusses progress
  • Burgess death
  • SBA loans
  • Hike in minimum wage

    Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • Cocke County A & I Fair
  • Focus on opioid abuse
  • Starting a small business
  • Probe into Carver death

    Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • General Committee meets
  • Irish Cut fire
  • Center for Rural Health
  • Dr. Jeffrey Matthews

    Tuesday, July 16, 2019

  • CLB talks roof issues
  • Foothills fall
  • Big lottery winner
  • White Oak Park
  • Gasoline price is increasing
  • Waste Industries
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest Day

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