Johnsons donate land for new public library

By | December 24, 2001 12:00 am

Emily Moorehead
The highlight of the White County Commission meeting on Monday was a gift to the county of land from Bill and Rena Johnson to be used as the building site for the new White County Public Library.
The Johnsons donated the property, located near the intersection of Bockman Way and Church Street, and Herd Sullivan accepted the donation on behalf of White County.
Bill Johnson stated he was proud of the new jail and commended the county commission and Sheriff for completing the much needed facility.
“While the new jail is essential, it serves the negative and unlawful elements in our community,” Bill added.
“In the days ahead, I would encourage the court to support the new library because it represents the positive future for all our citizens.
With the technology and knowledge present in today’s world, a modern, well-equipped library is crucial to our advancement and economic growth.
A viable library makes the most positive statement about how we value knowledge, and is at the core of our future growth.”
A matter of heavy discussion was Resolution 57-12-2001, which stated a donation of $58,000 was to be made to the county general fund from White County School funds.
The resolution explained a check for $250,000 would be written to the county from the school superintendent’s office, then the county would write a check back to the superintendent’s office in the amount of $192,000, leaving $58,000 in the county general fund.
“This fixes our shortfall on the books,” said Terry Howard.
“We probably need to do something towards expenditures.
This is one of the few options we have right now, but it’s not the answer.”
More discussion ensued with commission members expressing various levels of unease in accepting the $58,000, and they decided that taking a look at trimming the existing county budget might be prudent.
The resolution went on to a motion, and was passed unanimously, with Howard stating it took the pressure off the commission to have to make decisions.
Reports were read into the record of various sub-committees: Kenneth Milligan read the minutes of Steering Committee B; Anita Eldridge read the minutes of Steering Committee A; Betty Bohanon read the budget committee finance reports; Sullivan gave the purchasing committee report; and the solid waste report was read.
Another matter of some discussion was the White County Jail has already exceeded their allocated budget for this fiscal year in covering expenses resulting from the medical and dental bills for prisoners.
A resolution was before the board requesting an additional $50,000 be added to their budget to cover bills already incurred by prisoners.
Questions were raised as to preexisting health conditions of prisoners before incarceration, and several commission members queried whether or not a prisoner’s medical bills could be absorbed by their personal insurance or Tenn Care.
“The bottom line is, if they’re in jail, they’re ours,” said Sullivan, adding that once a person is incarcerated, all medical and dental bills are paid by the jail in which they are serving their sentences.
He also said the fiscal year was not yet half over, and already there is more than $90,000 spent on prisoner care.
“This is going to hurt us more than the new jail is,”
said Harold England of the increasing medical expenses.
Kenneth Millgan stated the jailer and the sheriff were asked to go over their budgets line by line to see where budget cuts might be made to help offset prisoner medical costs.
“We won’t know until the end of the year just how much we’ll have to transfer,” said Sullivan.
In another resolution, $8,000 was requested by the office of Henry Foster, Circuit Court Clerk, to add a part-time worker to his staff.
The case load has increased by a third, said Kenneth Milligan.
Howard remarked the same request was made during the forming of the budget and was not included at that time.
A vote was taken and the resolution failed.
The state mistake on tax notices was again raised, with Howard stating he felt the time for sending out amended tax notices had passed.

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