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Council Releases Funds for Historic Jail Renovation

Daniel Prince

Special meeting called on November 29 to consider ordinances and resolutions

In other news from Tuesday’s Union County Council meeting, John Fallaw was honored for 15 years of service with the county, and Craig Price was recognized for 5 years of service with the county.

Council considered a Christmas meal for county employees. Interim Supervisor Bob Love said that was a regular occurrence prior to COVID, and he recommended reinstating the Christmas policy and give each county employee a $20 gift card, to be paid for from the nondepartmental operational contingency fund. He said the total cost of that to the county would be around $5000. The vote was unanimous.

Council unanimously approved filling three vacant budgeted positions—a tax clerk for the treasurer’s office, a clerk for the probate judge’s office, and a position in Family Court.

Tourism Director Curtiss Hunter asked that the rest of the funds set aside for the renovation of the old jail into a visitors’ center be released. At last month’s meeting, council voted to release $6500 of the funds. Hunter explained that money has already been spent on a lead and asbestos evaluation and a tree and stump removal. She said Carlisle Associates has come and done a preliminary walkthrough, and their rendering of the project could be expensive. Council unanimously approved releasing the rest of the capital funds for that project, $28,500.

Finance Director Ann Boggs presented a request on behalf of the Department of Probation and Parole. Their phone system is completely down and needs replacing. A quote on a new system for the hardware and software came back at $10,860, though she said there could be an additional charge for data jacks, but that wouldn’t be known until the group comes to install the system. The original budgeted amount was $12,991, but Boggs requested $11,100 on behalf of the agency from the nondepartmental capital fund. Council unanimously voted to release the funds.

Interim Supervisor Bob Love called for a special meeting of council to be held on Tuesday, November 29, at 5:30 p.m. He said several resolutions and ordinances need to be considered before the next regular monthly meeting. David Sinclair was the only council member with a conflict on that date, and he said he likely could call in.

Sheriff Jeff Bailey reported to council that all the SRO vehicles have been upfitted and are now operational after having had to wait 5-6 months for the equipment to come in for the upfit. He said his office continues to move forward with the accreditation process. He said the Criminal Justice Academy has come out with nine standards, and he said they are ahead of those standards. He said everyone in the office is being held to those same standards, from the clerical staff to the deputies to himself.

Ben Ivey advised council to begin thinking about ways to properly dispose of solar panels and electric vehicle batteries. He said materials in those items are hazardous, and the only recycling site for solar panels is on the west coast. He said e-waste is going to be a problem for everyone going forward, and the county needs to be thinking about solutions in the future.

An executive session was held to discuss a contractual matter and an economic development matter.

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