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Government Revisits Plans to Combine Planning Departments
by Ashley Murphy

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Keith Holloway opened Monday night's meeting with a recommendation not to combine the City and County Planning Departments. Holloway stated that it is in the best interest of both parties and the citizens. However, it would be more convenient for the people of Cleveland and Bradley County if the Planning Departments were housed in the same building. This would save a whole lot of back and forth running for services.

Mayor D. Gary Davis said that he and City Manager Janice Casteel have been discussing this matter, but the big dilemma is space. Neither the city nor the county are looking for additional costs right now due to the current economy. Each department has enough space for their individual planning departments, but neither government entity has a space big enough to accommodate both department's employees. As  it stands, the departments will remain separate.

The McDonald Ruritan Club asked the commission about possibly turning the old McDonald school into a McDonald Community Center. The gymnasium is what the club is most interested in. However, they are also asking for $34,000 for demolition and reimbursement costs. Mayor Davis stated that the county could not take on any projects right now and asked for the Building and Land Committee to come back with a recommendation at a later date.

Commissioner Jeff Yarber invited Suzanne Wisdom with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to come before the commission to present a proposal. Funding from the State has ceased for CASA and Wisdom was asking the county to help the organization.

The proposition asked that the county pass a resolution to charge a $45 fee to anyone who is found guilty or pleads guilty to crimes in which victims, who CASA is representing, are involved. Wisdom stated Court Clerk Gayla Miller and Judge Swafford are in support of this resolution. The clerk would receive $3 and CASA would receive the remaining $42. This money would help to maintain CASA, which is a volunteer service.

CASA serves juveniles who have been abused or neglected in a variety of ways. Wisdom said that they are not bad kids, they just have nowhere else to turn when presented with a court situation due to factors that have been placed upon them and are appointed an advocate through the court system.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on Monday, August 2nd at 7 p.m. in the Commission Room of the Bradley County Courthouse.