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County Designated as Economic Recovery Zone

by Ashley Murphy

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis called on Chamber of Commerce President Gary Farlow to make a short presentation. Farlow requested for commissioners to designate Bradley County as an economic recovery zone. This would be put forth in the form of a resolution in order make it official.

By doing this, it would allow the Economic Development Board and Industrial Development Board to request state America Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies that could reach as high as $41 million. This can only be applied for if there are areas of economic recovery, leading to the request to designate Bradley County as a whole.

The money will be used to help Olin Chemicals with a possible reinvestment in their Charleston facility. After a motion by Commissioner Howard Thompson, the resolution passed unanimously.

Once again, the fire topic was brought into discussion. Thompson requested a meeting with all commissioners in order to talk openly about the fire situation and get all of the cards out on the table. Commissioner Jeff Yarber noted in last week's meeting, he asked for the Chair to call for a joint meeting so this can be discussed openly. However, Thompson doesn't want the city to be apart of the first meeting, he wishes to discuss this matter amongst his county commissioners who represent county issues without input from the city. Commissioner Connie Wilson agreed that she would like a commission only meeting for the fire issue before bringing the city into it.

Chairman Louie Alford stated that Legislative Assistant Amy Moore is reviewing data and numbers and the city will be brought into the discussion only after as much information is gathered and analyzed as possible. Three options are currently being looked into; merge the city and county fire departments, separate the departments or extend the current contract, which ties the county down to pay $1.8 million the first two years and $911,000 the third, and final, year.

Thompson said his major concern was trusting the city and that "it's all about money. They [city] want that money to balance their budget."

Commissioner Mel Griffith made a substitute motion to Yarber's previous motion to dedicate the first work session in December, the 13th, to discuss fire protection and the possible funding options to help come to a clearer understanding. The substitute motion passed unanimously.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on Monday, November 22, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Bradley County Courthouse.