The Knox County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Wednesday, May 27, to address a slate of items that could change the course of the county for years to come.
After opening bids for various projects and adopting the agenda, the court voted to amend minutes from the April meeting to adjust language for bids to purchase two tractors. One tractor will be purchased outright and another to be leased, according to the original language presented in the April meeting. The amendment to those minutes reflected a Right to Purchase Option for the second tractor, not a lease.
In other actions, the court voted to amend a county road aid agreement with the state for $1,157,003, a reduction due to a drop in fuel taxes collected by the state.
“This is based on the gas tax,” said Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell. “With roads starting to get active now, maybe they’ll catch up on some of the money they cut us. It’s a pretty significant cut for the size of budget we have for the road department.”
A second reading of the ordinance for a proposed county tourism and convention commission was approved with magistrates Jason Smith and Tony Golden abstaining from participating in the vote. The ordinance would establish the commission and establish a 3 percent transit tax for tourism funding. The tax would not apply to Knox County citizens, only people staying at hotels in Knox County from outside the county.
Abstaining from the vote for the tourism ordinance were magistrates Tony Golden and Jason Smith.
When asked why he abstained, District Four Magistrate Smith commented to The Mountain Advocate, “Sorry just didn’t have enough information to feel comfortable in voting for it yet.”
Efforts to reach Golden, District Three Magistrate, were unsuccessful by press time Wednesday.
The court approved the first reading of the proposed fiscal court budget for fiscal year 2020-21.
The court approved the second reading of Ordinance 20200422-01, which established uniform standards for emergency shelters, cold shelters and a management plan. Among the standards set for shelters include a window of time and limitations on stay length. Occupants may not be at the shelter between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. unless they are handicapped or sick, and any occupant cannot stay over seven days (one week) from the time of registering at the shelter. Shelters will maintain a registration list for each calendar year, and provide the Knox County Sheriff’s Office with name, social security number, date of birth and identification number for each person that enters a shelter. Shelters will not allow co-ed living arrangements for anyone not legally married.
The next Fiscal Court meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m., on Wednesday, June 24, in the Fiscal Courtroom at the Knox County Courthouse, and broadcast live to The Mountain Advocate Facebook page.