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Friday, January 30, 2015

December jobless numbers
County unemployment rates for December in Tennessee, released Thursday, show the rate decreased in 20 counties, increased in 64 counties, and remained the same in 11 counties. Local numbers look like this ; Cocke.........8.9 percent Jefferson...7.3 Hamblen.....6.6 Greene......8.7 Sevier......6.9 Lincoln County has the lowest jobless rate at 4.4 percent, while Scott County has the highest rate at 13.1 percent.

Cocke County Corrections Partnership
Members of the Cocke County Corrections Partnership Committee, meeting Thursday evening were encouraged to move ahead on a plan to address the current jail overcrowding. Jail Administrator Tommy Large suggested that the county consider a privately operated jail. He suggested such a facility could be funded with monies for housing state inmates, and would resolve the current situation without a local tax increase. But William Kane, a Detention Facilities Specialist with the Tennessee Corrections Institute said there is no provision in Tennessee law for the county to have a privately operated jail. Sheriff Armando Fontes said it is the responsibility of the county legislative body to provide a jail, and it is his responsibility to operate the jail. The old jail, on the third floor of the courthouse, currently houses female inmates but it is not certified. The sheriff stressed that the county has the responsibility to house it's inmates, and no one wants a property tax increase. "But it is a problem that we have got to address as a board. The thing is to be smart about it, and do it in such a way where we can capitalize monetarily from the state," the sheriff said. There has been discussion about housing federal inmates which would bring in about $100 per day, per inmate, compared to a maximum of $38 per state inmate. But the sheriff said to house federal prisoners would mean meeting additional regulations. The county currently receives $30.83 per day for state inmates. The sheriff said he doesn't care what facility is decided upon but he needs more space, the ability to segregate different levels of inmates, and needs more bed space. One plan he has is to increase the number of inmates who work outside on the litter crews, but the sheriff said he expects both jails to be de-certified in the future. Committee member Jimmy Lindsey again argued for a wheel tax to bring in more revenue saying that spreads the tax burden more evenly than does a property tax. Chair of the committee, CLB member Robert Greene said he personally opposes a wheel tax or increasing the property tax rate, for raising additional revenue. He said he believes state dollars should be available for funding a jail. County Mayor Crystal Ottinger said USDA Rural Development money is available at about one percent interest. Sheriff Fontes said the county is mandated to make progress toward resolving it's current overcrowding, through a plan of action, or the jail will be de-certified. Kane said the county must come up with a plan and then look at ways to fund the plan,"because the clock is ticking." He said there must be tangible progress on the part of the committee to show efforts are being made to address the overcrowding issue. He pointed out that the community must decide if it wants only a jail or if a justice center is needed. And then an engineer must be hired to design a plan. He said a plan developed about ten years ago is too antiquated. There is concern that if the courts mandate an upgrade the project will be more expansive than if the county is pro-active in developing a suitable upgrade. The committee will meet again at 5 pm on February 26.

Friday, January 30, 2015

  • December jobless numbers
  • Cocke County Corrections Partnership

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • FASFA assistance is available
  • Tire recycling is an issue
  • Jones and Strange are new Assistant D.A.'s
  • Thompson is being sought
  • Two charged in theft from Baptist Center
  • Love faces a number of charges

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Turner charged with leaving accident scene
  • Dollar General robbery
  • Thompson and Moore charged in stabbing
  • Newport Utilities board removes Parker and re-instates Ray

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Republicans want closed primaries
  • Hemp production
  • Hall arrest
  • Flu is on the decline
  • Cocke Circuit Court
  • Green reports arson.
  • Newport Grammar
  • No School !!!!

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • Strange funeral arrangements set
  • Ottinger and Stevenson face charges
  • Way re-captured
  • Insure Tennessee to bring dollars to the state
  • Maloney being sought
  •    

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