Committees appointed to consider budget creation and drive-thru windows

RUTLEDGE – Two committees were appointed by the Grainger County Commission at its Monday, January 11 meeting. 

The Commission voted to appoint members to the FY 2021-22 budget committee and added an additional member. Commissioners Wendy Noe, Darrell Williams, Andy Cameron, Rodney Overbay and Justin Epperson were re-appointed to the committee. Commission Chairman Johnny Baker was also appointed, bringing the number of committee members to six.

The term for the budget committee will expire Friday, December 31. Commissioner Larry Johnson made a motion to approve the committee selection. It was seconded by Commissioner Leon Spoone. The motion passed with a unanimous vote. 

A committee was formed to research the addition of drive-thru windows for the Grainger County Trustee and Grainger County Clerk Offices. 

Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd said additional bids were pursued but none were received. The current lowest bid to construct drive-thru windows at the Grainger County Courthouse is $216,000. Byrd said he believed the county could lower the price by approximately $23,000 by providing its own architectural work. He said the price given was a rough estimate. 

Commissioner Darell Stratton said he did not understand how the price could be $216,000. Byrd said the Trustee’s Office would require an extension from the building to allow cars to reach the drive-thru window. The first estimate the county received for the project was $160,000, according to Byrd. The county then decided to place canopies above the windows to prevent customers from getting wet when it rains. 

Stratton said he wasn’t against the windows, but also said he wasn’t necessarily for them. He said he thought a committee might need to be formed. 

Commissioner Becky Johnson said she knew there were a lot of elderly people who would benefit from drive-thru windows. She said she believed it was a good idea. 

Grainger County Trustee Rena Greer said customers of her office would benefit from the addition of windows due to the lack of space in her office. She said there are a lot of individuals with handicaps that cannot navigate her office due to the lack of space. She said she has received a lot of customer questions about when the office would receive the drive-thru windows. 

Commissioner James Acuff said he worked with drive-thru windows and a stand-alone building would be more efficient to add a drive-thru window. 

Johnson made a motion to form a committee to research more information about the installation of drive-thru windows and offer a report at the next meeting. It was seconded by Commissioner Luke Stratton. The vote passed unanimously. 

Byrd suggested the committee consist of County Clerk Angie Lamb, Trustee Rena Greer, Commissioners James Acuff, Scott Wynn and Luke Stratton. Johnson requested to be part of the committee. 

Commissioner Justin Epperson made a motion to accept the committee as suggested. It was seconded by Commissioner Wendy Noe. The motion passed with a unanimous vote. 

In other business the board approved:

• a policy allowing the county to continue paying county employees for COVID-19 absences;

• a resolution to apply for a CDBG grant not to exceed $600,000 for waterline projects with Bean Station Utility District; 

• a resolution urging the General Assembly to adopt processes to ensure tracking and accounting of minerals from specific locations; and

• a resolution to change one-tenth of a mile of Greta Rd. to Old Greta Rd. to allow residents to receive electric services.

The next County Commission meeting will be held Monday, February 8 at 7 p.m. Meetings are not currently open to the public, but may be attended electronically.