By Richard Rourk
The Town of Unicoi has officially named its representatives for the Unicoi County EMS Board of Directors.
Mayor Johnny Lynch announced that he and Aldermen Jeff Linville will be named to the nine-member board of directors during the Tuesday, Feb. 18, Town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
“I would like to announce that Jeff (Linville) will be serving with me on the ambulance board,” Lynch said during an announcement portion of the meeting.
Lynch and Linville will join Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley, Erwin Alderwoman Rachelle Hyder-Shurtz, Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely, Unicoi County Commissioner John Mosley and Unicoi County Hospital Administrator Eric Carroll on the Unicoi County EMS Board of Directors. There are two spots on the board that are currently open, which includes the medical director, yet to be named, and a member-at-large that will be selected by Evely.
The Unicoi County EMS Board of Directors’ inaugural meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m.
Also during the Feb. 18 BMA meeting, the town honored the 2019 Town of Unicoi Volunteer of the Year Award recipient Jean Mull.
“Jean is available to help us at a moment’s notice and we appreciate that,” Town of Unicoi Communications and Programs Director Ashley Shelton said.
The BMA also took a moment to recognize area first responders for jumping to action during the recent flooding. Lynch gave a special proclamation to honor the first responders.
“During our last flood, we got hit pretty hard,” Lynch said. “All of our organizations got together and really helped out when we were in need.”
Lynch expressed appreciation to the Town of Unicoi Maintenance Department, the Town of Unicoi Police Department, Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department, Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, the Unicoi County Highway Department, and the Unaka Mountain Search and Rescue team for their prompt response to the flooding.
“Their efforts deserve our appreciation,” Lynch said. “Andy (Unicoi Police Chief Slagle) and his staff had to rescue an elderly couple during the floods.”
Moving on, the board approved a budget amendment to move $55,000 out of the general fund to find a project to build a bridge on R.W. Estates Drive following a unanimous vote.
“The $55,000 will be a 100 percent reimbursement from (the Tennessee Department of Transportation) after the project is bid out,” Town of Unicoi City Recorder Deborah Kessler said. “It may be this fiscal year, but maybe not. It’s not a grant, it’s a project that will be reimbursed by TDOT.”
According to Kessler, the town’s budget is in good shape.
“Right now our cash is pretty high, but we do have a loan payment and a school payment. We do have to pay FEMA and TDOT upfront for fixing culverts and debris and for the R.W. Estates Drive Bridge,” Kessler said.
Town of Unicoi Alderwoman Kathy Bullen agreed with Kessler about future spending.
“Before the end of the year we will be spending a lot of money out,” Bullen said
In closing, Shelton spoke about the most recent job fair held in Unicoi on Feb. 10 at the Unicoi Visitor’s Center.
“We only lack 16 people from meeting our mark to work the 2020 Census,” Shelton said. “We are looking at doing this biannually. We got really good feedback.”