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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Finance Committee receives a shelter update
The Cocke County Finance Committee meeting this week heard an update on the status of the Friends Animal Shelter which is under contract to take county animals. The county currently pays the shelter $100,000 annually for accepting its animals, but Director Elisha Henry told the members that the shelter has had a number of "pretty traumatic" animal cruelty cases in the last month, which she described as "heartbreaking". She told the committee that the facility is struggling to operate under the current level of funding. Although the shelter utilizes volunteers "they won't clean up poop or go into cages where they may be bitten," explained the shelter manager. She said five people are needed to operate the facility, and each animal brought in costs an average of $150, for spay/neuter, vaccinations and food as well as the operating costs. Henry said the facility shelters about 1,600 animals annually, costing $240,000 to operate the shelter. She said she is concerned about the viability of the shelter long term. The manager was asked about re-instituting the Rolling Rescue program to generate additional funds. Henry said she recently spoke with the woman who originally began the Rolling Rescue operation at the shelter. The program, she said, was begun with a $20,000 grant. Henry said she is trying to operate on the bare minimum of funding from the county and also conduct fundraising. Newport currently operates it's own shelter, and the committee talked again about possibly combining the two operations to end duplication of services and save money. The committee will recommend a number of transfers to the full legislative body including funding for new vehicles in the sheriff's department. Said Sheriff Armando Fontes,"what the general public doesn't understand is that we can't do our job without cars. Do they want us to go on horseback?" Commissioner Forrest Clevenger said his constituents complain that the department is spending too much on cars. The sheriff pointed out that the state places requirements on the operation of his department and, "If they are going to complain, they need to look at the facts, not rumors." He pointed out that his department saved the county over $500,000 in recent years through drug seizure of vehicles. Mitch Loomis of the East Tennessee Development District told the committee that there are some grants available but he said the county needs to determine it's priorities so grant applications can be targeted to the areas most needed. And most grants, he said, require a local match. The committee did agree to recommend that the county apply for a grant to fund a witness coordinator for elder and vulnerable abuse cases. And the committee voted to request that purchase orders in amounts over $5,000 be submitted for its review.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

  • Partnership update
  • Cocke Circuit Court pleas
  • Ealy looses her RN license
  • April employment numbers
  • Johnson execution

    Thursday, May 16, 2019

  • Cocke Finance Committee
  • Casada saga continues
  • Roberts arrest
  • Ownby arrest

    Wednesday, May 15, 2019

  • Newport City Council approves new budget
  • Dykes named Big Red coach
  • Tennessee crime stats
  • Memorial Day travel

    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

  • Cocke Finance Committee
  • Appalachian Trail killing
  • Kidnapping arrest
  • Gasoline prices move lower

    Friday, May 10, 2019

  • Cocke County rafting industry continues its growth
  • Cocke County Finance Committee
  • Shadow of the Smokies Trail

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