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January 16, 2018

County to apply for waterline extension grant for Thorn Hill

Tracey Wolfe
Grainger Today Editor

RUTLEDGE – Grainger County Commissioners voted to approve a resolution to apply for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for a waterline extension in Thorn Hill.

The grant match would be provided by the North Grainger Utility District (NGUD).

According to Mayor Mark Hipsher, NGUD would purchase water from the Sneedville Utility District, and the water line extension would bring water from that utility into the Thorn Hill area, initially. He said the utility will serve the north side of Grainger County.

Commissioner Darell Stratton made a motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Commissioner James Acuff.

Commissioners also voted to have Hipsher begin the process to accept bids for the creation of additional parking at the Grainger County Justice Center. Hipsher said he had received preliminary estimates for the creation of additional parking in two areas adjacent to the Justice Center. An estimate to add 36 parking spaces to an area on the side of the building totaled  $55,000. Another estimate for the addition of 22 parking spaces in an area in front of the building totaled $33,000.

Hipsher said it would likely be summer before construction could begin, due to the process of taking bids and appropriating funds.

Sheriff James Harville presented commissioners with information about courtroom security fees and courthouse upgrade and/or maintenance fees to be added to court costs.

He said he had received approval for a grant for $32,400 for the purchase of an X-ray machine and a new walk-through machine for the Justice Center. He said the X-ray machine would allow purses, briefcases and other such items to be checked without officers having to dig through them. He said the machine would come with a one-year warranty, but maintenance in subsequent years would cost approximately $1,250 per year.

Harville said the county currently has a courthouse upgrade and/or maintenance fee of $10 included in court costs. He said Hamblen and Hawkins Counties have upgrade/maintenance and security funds, with a fee of $25 for each, included in their court costs.

He asked commissioners to come up with an amount for future fees to assist in the purchase and maintenance of courtroom security equipment, as well as courthouse upgrades and maintenance.

Commissioner Darrell Williams made a motion to increase the current fee amount to $25 for the purpose of drawing up a resolution for the commission to vote on at its next meeting.

Commissioners discussed asking county attorney Lane Wolfenbarger whether the fees would also apply to traffic citations and explored whether the fee could be excluded from the court costs associated with those citations.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a $25 amount for the purpose of drawing up a resolution.

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