Kingsport Times-News: Hawkins commission approves earlier meeting start time despite heavy dissent

Hawkins commission approves earlier meeting start time despite heavy dissent

Jeff Bobo • Oct 25, 2018 at 1:43 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Commission's night meetings will start an hour earlier beginning in November, although some commissioners said that will make it harder for them to arrive on time due to work and other obligations.

In January, April, July and October the commission meets the fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Hawkins County Courthouse in Rogersville. The eight other monthly meetings it has historically met at 7 p.m.

Monday morning, however the commission voted 11-9 with one abstention to change the starting time of the night meetings to 6 p.m.

The only explanation given for the change was in the resolution introduced by newly elected Commissioner Donnie Talley which stated, “Some have expressed interest that the night meetings begin at 6 p.m.”

Commissioner Rick Brewer, who is a mason and resides on the far western edge of the county, said its will be hard for him to arrive earlier than 7 p.m., especially in the summer time when his workload is heavier.

"I will abide by what the 21 say," Brewer added.

Commissioner Jeff Barrett, who lives in Church Hill and works in Mount Carmel, said the earlier start time will make it harder for working people to attend meetings as well.

"A lot of people from the upper (eastern) end of the county work in Kingsport," Barrett said. "I feel like, for the taxpayers, it would be hard for some of them to come to the meetings when the meeting start at 6 p.m. due to travel time and getting off work."

Commissioner Glenda Davis said she doesn't mind the 6 p.m. start time except that she has another meeting on the fourth Monday of each month at 5 p.m., so the 6 p.m. start time will make it hard for her to get there.

Among the commissioners who voted against the time change were Brewer, Barrett, Davis, Tom Kern, Danny Alvis, Hannah Speaks, Mark deWitte, John Metz, and Nancy Barker. Syble Vaughan Trent abstained.

DUI enforcement grant accepted

The commission voted 21-0 to accept a $40,000 Tennessee Department of Transportation Highway Safety Grant which will be used by the Hawkins County Sheriff's office for DUI enforcement.

Lawson said the funds will be used to put extra officers on the road specifically looking for drunk drivers and to pay overtime for sobriety checkpoints.

There is no local match for the $40,000 grant.

Funds allocated for bus driver pay

The commission voted 21-0 to approve the county schools budget amendment transferring $101,038 to cover the cost of a $5 per day pay increase for school bus drivers which was approved by the Board of Education on Aug. 9.

Solid waste truck auction results

Solid waste Department director Mark Linkous reported to the commission Monday that the county received $445,855 for three used trucks which were recently auctioned in Birmingham, Ala.

The department's 2006 truck brought $100,000, while the two 2017 trucks brought $138,000 and $137,000 respectively.

"We paid about $150,000 for both trucks, and we used them for two years and we still got $138,000 for one and $137,000 for the other," Linkous said. "The 2006 did surprise me to bring that much at auction."

Linkous said the plan is to auction trucks in this method every two years, which keeps his department in new trucks and drastically reduces maintenance costs.


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