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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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Monday, March 25, 2019

  • Fatal crash investigation continuing
  • Counterfeit currency, meth and heroin seized
  • Flooding assistance requested
  • DCS reviewing its pass policy
  • Search for identity of body continues
  • Search for identity of body continues

    Saturday, March 23, 2019

  • Herr Arrest
  • Jefferson County guilty pleas
  • Flooding leaves major damage
  • Governor Lee asks for disaster assistance
  • New request for information related to body

    Friday, March 22, 2019

  • Greene crash
  • Jobless rate sets record
  • Rain means lower electric bills
  • Ingle arrest
  • Bankruptcy may impact opioid lawsuits
  • Animal cruelty
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Douglas Lake body update

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

  • Ellison vindicated
  • Grassy Fork Elementary School is honored
  • Gardner sentenced to 12 years
  • TennCare blockgrants
  • TennCare blockgrants

    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

  • Cocke schools absenteeism
  • New Cave Church Road collision
  • Animals at large
  • Litter charge
  • Douglas arrest
  • Fish advisory
  • Fish advisory

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