Whitley County Judge-executive Pat White, Jr. came to the Corbin Rotary Club meeting Thursday where he discussed the state of the county and provided an update on what is happening in county government.
White said the county would be among the 38 counties on the Tennessee boarder that would benefit from legislation directing that proceeds from TVA’s annual payment in lieu of tax go to the respective counties as opposed to being paid to Frankfort and then deposited in the general fund.
White said while the initial amount divided among the counties would be $2 million, the full amount would reach $6 million.
“It works out to about $50,000 this year and phases up to about $150,00 per year,” White said.
The legislation requires the money to be used for economic development projects.
In an effort to ensure that, Whitley County has re-established the industrial development authority
“A lot of you may not have realized we didn’t have an industrial development authority,” White said. “We had one years ago, but it trailed off,”
White said money from TVA will be similar to the coal severance money the county receives. It will be used to fund projects to further economic development.
“It can’t be used for salaries or expenses,” White emphasized.
“We are going to do some good through that money,” he added.
White said with the new fiscal court taking office, it would once again be time to look at the purchase of new road equipment.
White explained that while mowers are not the splashiest purchases, they are essential given that the county has 783 miles of roads it maintains.
“People rarely understand what a task it is to mow the county roads,” White said explaining that workers mow both sides of the roads at a rate of 6 mph, twice and possibly three times each year.
White added that maintenance issues have left the county workers with just two working mowers at several points during the last year.
“Our goal is to set it up so they are paid off in four years so not to burden the next fiscal court,” White explained.
White said the county was able to add two new ambulances to Whitley EMS’s fleet through grant money.
The county received a $50,000 Rural Development Grant and a $100,000 FEMA Grant.
Additional grant money was used to fund new equipment for the Whitley County E-911 dispatch center.
White said in August, the county would host the third annual Kayaking for Kids event.
“We were looking for a way to tie in our new river access on the Cumberland River with a way to give back to the community,” White said adding that when county officials spoke with school resource officials at area schools, one thing that they said they needed was underwear, socks and other basic necessities of life.
The first year, the event raised enough to give $150 to each of the eight elementary schools.
“I didn’t think it was much, but the people at the resource offices said, ‘Do you realize how many pairs of socks that will buy when you buy in bulk?” White said adding that in 2018, each school received $530.
In addition, $1,200 was given to Upwards Basketball in Williamsburg and an additional $1,200 to the Corbin program.
White said the county has continued to receive good audits with just one negative comment over the last eight years.
“We try to do things right. We try to be transparent,” White said. “I think everyone in our office is passionate about that.”