In the first meeting of the new year, although only halfway through the fiscal year, the White County Board of Commissioners passed 12 resolutions.
The resolution garnering the most attention came toward the end of the meeting. Resolution No. 10-01-2021 – Resolution Requesting a Declaration of a State Park was passed unanimously, giving the county permission to request that state legislators name Virgin Falls State Natural Area an official state park.
“This is a big resolution and a big ask,” Commissioner Cain Rogers told the board. “We are asking [for] state legislation to make Virgin Falls become a state park.”
“It’s a big ask, but it’s a big win,” County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson said echoing Rogers’ statement.
Robinson also said by having the area designated as an official state park, the recognition on media, road signage along highways, and help with road maintenance all coming from the state would increase the tourism in White County. Visitors to the area would therefore increase the sales for shops and restaurants and possibly increase the number of new businesses that could come into the area in the next few years.
The board also approved Resolution 12-01-2021 - Resolution to Apply for Community Development Block Grant that would provide the county with the funds to purchase two new fire trucks, one for Eastland Fire Department and one as a county-wide truck.
“They will be making phone calls to conduct surveys in place of door-to-door,” Robinson told the board. “This is actually federal money from the Department of Community Development.”
When asked about concerns about one of the questions on the survey, he responded and assured the board and their constituents that the questions are legitimate and necessary.
“They will ask about household income,” Robinson said. “That’s how they decide who gets awarded the grants, but ‘this person makes x amount of money,’ instead, they will say ‘this geographical area has this median income.’”
The board also unanimously, with just Terry Alley and Bobby McCulley being absent, passed the following resolutions:
One final action of the White County Board of Commissioners was to accept the written resignation of Commissioner Bobby McCulley who has relocated outside of the county.
According to chairman Stanley Neal, the process of replacing McCulley will take place at the next meeting, on Feb. 22, and will include nominations from 12 of the 13 remaining commissioners.
“I won’t nominate anyone myself as chairman, but the other commissioners can do so,” Neal said.
Neal said the board would vote on the nominees, all of which must be from District 7, the district that McCulley had represented. Should there be more than two nominees, they would conduct two votes. The first vote would be to determine the top two nominees, and the second vote would be to select between those remaining two.
“It would be good if the nominees were at the meeting because as soon as the vote takes place, they can take their seat among the other commissioners and be an active participant in the remainder of the meeting,” Neal said.
Neal clarified there would be no public election for this position at this time. The chosen candidate would fulfill the remainder of McCulley’s term, which is approximately 18 months, and then would have to seek reelection through the general election should they wish to serve their own term.