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Commission finds home for incubator

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By PETER SAWYER

Monday night, the Campbell County Commission found a home for the business incubator.

“They’ve been operating out of McDonald’s and wherever,” County Mayor William Baird said.

The county found space for the business incubator at the Jacksboro branch of Community Trust Bank.

Commissioner Rusty Orick asked if the county was going to pay the rent.

The county plans to fund the first 18 months of rent with an 80-20 Appalachian Regional Commission Grant. The grant supplies $214,982 and the county will pay a $92,150 portion.

A motion was made to enter a lease for three months. Commissioner David Adkins later made an amendment to the motion to approve the lease with end date in October 2013, when the grant finishes paying the rent, unless additional funds are received.

“They have agreed to a six month notification to terminate the lease by either party,” Baird said.

Some of the commissioners had questions about the business incubator.

“What is the incubator?” Commissioner Beverley Hall said.

“It’s hard for me to vote for something if I haven’t seen (anything produced out of it),” Orick said.

The goal for the business incubator is to provide training for business owners and people who want to start businesses, Baird explained.

Commissioner Marie Ayers asked what kind of businesses have been involved in the business incubator.

“We have assisted some businesses that are already going,” Baird said.

The business incubator has worked with Martin Trowbridge from Beekeepers of America. Trowbridge rents bees to farmers and extracts bees from homes and wooden structures

The business incubator has also helped some business owners that want to get started.

“We agreed to provide a building,” Baird said. “Where Trail Manor is now.” Commissioner Tom Hatmaker suggested West LaFollette Community Center as a possible home for the business incubator, and asked about other potential locations.

“We’ve been looking for buildings for six months,” Baird said. “Something that’s attractive enough (that) people would want to locate their businesses there.”

“I’d like to drive an Escalade, but I’ve got to drive my pickup truck,” Hatmaker said. “To get started, it don’t have to be the best.”

“The money’s already there,” Adkins said. “I don’t know if it’s gonna be a success or a failure. But you’ll never know until you try. We haven’t seen anything from it, but we might, somewhere down the road.”

CHET

The commission approved CHET’s contract for providing inmate healthcare. CHET’s contract is for $378,000, County Finance Director Jeff Marlow said. Last year, the county had a contract with Correctional Health Corporation for $360,000. The bid Campbell County received from CHC this year was about $15,000 more than the bid from CHET, Marlow said.

The monthly cost for CHET’s services will be $31,500, with 10 percent flexibility. The base inmate population is 200. If the population increases above 220, Campbell County will pay a proportionally larger fee. If it decreases below 180, it will pay a proportionally smaller fee.

CHET will have to notify Campbell County with renewal price by April 30.

Norris Ridge Volunteer Fire Department

Norris Ridge Volunteer Fire Department asked the county to assign $8,000 of its yearly funding to First Volunteer Bank.

“We can’t obligate ourselves long term,” Orick said.

“Mr. Chairman, there’s really no action this commission can or should make relative to this,” county attorney Joe Coker said. “That would be an agreement between the fire department and the bank.”

Under the law, Campbell County isn’t allowed to commit money to a nonprofit organization, including fire departments, Coker said.

“You can’t be a party to this,” Coker said. “Your approval is not required. It’s just not something the commission needs to be involved in.”

Lonas Young Hours

Commissioner Johnny Bruce recommended changing Lonas Young Memorial Park’s hours of operation this summer.

“Getting a little more daylight in the afternoon,” Bruce said.

It’s normally open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bruce recommended these hours be changed to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The change will be active until Sept. 30.

The commission approved Bruce’s recommendation.

Speed Limit

Hatmaker proposed reducing the speed limit on Ridenour Lane from 30 miles an hour to 25 miles per hour.

There are several apartments and children on it, Hatmaker said.

Bruce asked if County Road Superintendent Dennis Potter had made any recommendations. Hatmaker told him he had spoken with Potter.

“Dennis was fine with it,” Hatmaker said. “He said whatever we suggested.”

Half the road is in LaFollette, and half is in the county.

“I spoke with Jim Mullins,” Hatmaker said. “The city has no problem with changing the speed limit.”

The county voted to reduce the sped limit on Ellison Lane, Delap Lane and Ridenour Lane.

Fire Departments

Commissioner Sue Nance asked to release $3,000 from the 101 Fund to the fire departments and rescue squads with no stipulation it be tied to grants.

This money in the 101 Fund is made available to the fire departments and rescue squads for them to pay for the matching portion of grants they apply for. There aren’t many grants to apply for, and some of the departments have projects they need money to finance, Deputy Mayor David Young said.

Marlow asked Nance how the money should be appropriated.

Nance asked for suggestions.

Baird recommended appropriating the money for equipment purchases because the fire departments already have $5,000 from the 171 Fund for capital outlay purchases.

“I’m really interested in Ridgewood getting a roof on the building,” Nance said.

The commission voted to use the money for capital outlay purchases.

Insurance

At insurance chair Bobby White’s recommendation, the commission voted to renew Campbell County’s policy with the Local Government Insurance Pool. Campbell County has been insured by the Local Government Insurance Pool for worker’s comp, general liability, professional liability, property and equipment, automobile and law coverage since 2007, Hill Insurance Broker Steve Rutherford said. The commission also voted to renew the school board’s policy with Tennessee Risk Management Trust. Tennessee Risk Management Trust insures the school system for property and equipment, general liability, educator’s legal liability, automobile and worker’s comp.

Lease

The commission approved a lease with district attorney’s office. The county leases office space to the district attorney’s office. The county will lease a new office in the space between the old jail and new jail.

Year-end meeting

The commission will meet on June 28 at 6 p.m. for its year-end meeting.