By Richard Rourk
With the 2021-22 fiscal year budget behind them, the Unicoi County Commission used their Monday meeting to began eyeing several items that need attention.
The commission voted Monday, July 26, to purchase three vehicles for the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department for $123,000. The commission also voted to approve the purchase of a 7.5-ton gas package HVAC unit for the Unicoi County Jail Annex for $16,019. The funding for the HVAC unit is slated to come out of the Governor’s Grant Funding that the county was approved for back in August of 2020.
The commission may have several options when it comes to the purchase of the vehicles. The funds may come from $1,736,781.50 in federal money that the county received in May from the American Rescue Act. The commission may also be able to use funds from a recent lawsuit to pay for the vehicles.
The Unicoi County Commission voted to accept a settlement on opioid litigation. Unicoi County joined several other municipalities in the settlement. First Judicial District Attorney General Ken Baldwin joined a lawsuit that saw Purdue Pharma settle for $4.5 billion for its role in the opioid epidemic.
The proposed amount that the municipalities in Unicoi County could receive from the Purdue Pharma settlement is just under $1.1 million.
The commissioners also discussed possibly bringing back a live stream option to their meetings.
“Before we go back to streaming on Facebook Live we may want to look at equipment upgrades,” Unicoi County Commissioner Stephen Hendrix suggested. “We had several viewers that said they couldn’t hear the meetings in the past.”
Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely announced that funding for live streaming equipment could come from additional grant funding.
“We can look into that,” Evely said. “I was waiting to see if we can use some of our Governor’s Grant Funds for this. We have received $331,834 in funding.”
The Unicoi County Commission is scheduled to meet again Aug. 23.