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Commission Says Good-Bye To Long Standing Commissioner
by Ashley Murphy

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sixth District Commissioner Roy Smith stated today that he would be turning in his resignation. After 28 years of service on the Bradley County Commission, Smith's resignation will go into effect on December 31, 2009. Smith stated, "I want to thank all of the people who have supported me over the years."

Commissioner Mel Griffith made notice that there will be no more voting sessions before the new year and made a motion to appoint Willodyne Smith Sixth District Commissioner. The unanimous yes vote led to Smith being appointed to fill Roy Smith's Sixth District position for the remainder of his regular running term. Willodyne Smith is Roy Smith's wife and has been in attendance to several of the commission meetings. She will take her spot starting at the next commission meeting on January 4, 2010.

Agenda items included the approval of the 20 Year Growth Plan. Commissioner Roy Smith stated that the way this was handled caused spot zoning and there was no way that he could support the resolution. Commissioner Howard Thompson agreed with Smith, stating that spot zoning used to be illegal, until the growth plan was made for the city and that he couldn't support the resolution either.

Commissioner Mel Griffith noted that this isn't spot zoning. The county is actually turning this land over to the city, it has nothing to do with Bradley County zoning. The resolution passed with Commissioners Roy Smith and Howard Thompson voting no.

The commission also authorized Mayor D. Gary Davis to sign contracts for new recreational lighting. Bradley Industrial Baseball Field and Charleston Football Field are set to receive new recreational lighting. Most of the lighting posts are wooden and over 20 years old. These old posts are beginning to deteriorate and this new contract will allow the needed replacements and updates to better serve the community for the use of these public parks.

The amended resolution for retirement medical insurance benefits for Bradley County employees was also approved. The resolution clearly states that employees must have 30 years of cumulative full-time employment with Bradley County or 25 years of continuous full-time employment with Bradley County. For 25 year employees, there should be no more than a two week lapse of service. All of this becomes effective on July 1, 2010.

Commissioner Lisa Stanbery brought forward a resolution authorizing the Finance Committee to hire an independent expert to review Bradley County's outstanding debt. This began a heated conversation as Mayor Davis was trying to explain the bond situation with Bradley County. Commissioner Stanbery commented that this wasn't to actually hire someone at this time, but for Finance to review possible outside experts and obtain the cost for such work. The vote passed even though Commissioners Mel Griffith, Roy Smith, Michael Plumley, Jim Smith, Howard Thompson and Bill Ledford voted against it.

Donald Caywood, a local resident, stated his opinion about the thought of hiring outside experts, "It bothers me that [you all] are wasting your time trying to hire somebody to take care of the finanaces of the county. You fourteen commissioners were elected by the taxpayers to take care of the county finances. And why can't you do it?"

Other communication from the audience included Pamela Rymer, a resident in the area around that has now been annexed by the city. She gave a short presentation about the concerns that residents have regarding the impact the future industrial development that will be moving into the area now. Her main concern was the creek that is going to effected by all the new developments. Rymer even referred to the creek as south Bradley County's little "ruby or diamond" and she doesn't want to see it destroyed.