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House of Hope funding discussed

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By Jennifer Caldwell

A large contingency of Community Heath of East Tennessee (CHET) representatives filled the courtroom during Monday’s commission workshop in hopes of learning the fate of the $300,000 commissioners designated for the House of Hope.

Commission Chairman David Young opened the meeting by questioning Mayor William Baird regarding the money.

Baird explained he had met with several CHET board members regarding the funding and a number of alternatives were being considered for the domestic violence center’s new location.

When Teresa Dabney, chief operating officer for CHET, was recognized she stated she understood Baird’s desire to make the best use of county funds, but stressed the urgency for House of Hope to find a new location.

“Time is of the essence here,” Dabney told commissioners.

Commissioner Ann Smith asked Baird why the money had not been released.

“Mr. Mayor I thought we voted to give them the money the other night,” Smith said pointedly.

While Baird agreed with Dabney on the need to expedite matters when possible, he pointed to the fact that the deadline for House of Hope to relocate is somewhat flexible.

“I spoke with Pastor Bill Morris and he told me there was no intention of putting you (House of Hope) out in the street,” Baird said.

In an effort to put an end to some of the unease, Baird suggested a timeline for resolving the issue.

“We’re going to work this out this month one way or the other,” Baird told the group.

As special called budget and finance meeting is scheduled for March 16 at 5 p.m.

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