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County approves new commissioner to replace White

By Richard Rourk

The Unicoi County Commission has officially named their newest commissioner during their Jan. 25 commission meeting. Brian Delp has officially been selected and approved to replace former Unicoi County Commissioner and current Town of Erwin Mayor Glenn White. White resigned his post last month after officially taking over as the Mayor of Erwin.

Delp, who will still have to be sworn in by Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely, will serve the 2nd district of Unicoi County on the county commission.

The Unicoi County Commission also named a representative to serve on the Unicoi County Animal Shelter Welfare Board during their Jan. 25 commission meeting. The commission voted unanimously to approve Ellen Reinhardt to represent the county on the Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board.

“We thank Ms. Reinhardt for serving on the animal welfare board,” Unicoi County Commission Chairman Loren Thomas said.

The commission also voted unanimously to approve funding of $6,000 to go to outfitting the Unicoi County Coroner’s back-up vehicle. Unicoi County Coroner Jimmy Erwin announced the need for a second vehicle and deputy coroners to serve alongside him.

Erwin explained during the Jan. 8 Unicoi County Public Safety Committee meeting that the county needs deputy coroners and an extra vehicle for transport to adequately serve Unicoi County residents and to provide comfort in the citizens’ time of need.

“When I’m not available or we have multiple calls, Unicoi County EMS has helped in transporting the deceased to the morgue for us, but this ties up their ambulances and keeps them from emergency calls,” Erwin said during the public safety meeting.

“Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley has offered a truck with a camper that would suit our needs. I have also talked to two potential deputy coroners. One is Unicoi Police Chief Andy Slagle and the other is Dave Walker. They should be ready to go after a few more calls.”

Erwin has recently been unavailable to make calls while recovering from COVID-19, but is back serving the county once again after being cleared.

Next up, the commission voted unanimously, with Unicoi County Commissioner John Mosley abstaining, to approve a $50,000 TWRA reimbursable grant to purchase land on the Unicoi County and Washington County line.

Unicoi County Commissioner Matthew Rice brought the idea of purchasing the land up at a July 15 Unicoi County Rafting and Tourism Committee meeting. “We have a proposal to do a land survey from Doug Treadway for $2,100 and we also have a land purchase agreement to get the property and that is contingent on acquiring TWRA grants,” Rice said during the July 15 rafting and tourism meeting. “I want to thank (Unicoi County) Mayor (Garland “Bubba”) Evely, the land owners, the U.S. Forest Service and the TWRA for their hard work and dedication to this project.”

Rice acknowledged that the total cost of the project would be $50,000.

“I’m hearing that $50,000 would cover the purchase of the land, surveying the property, closing costs, leveling the spot off and few other upgrades,” Rice said during the July 15 rafting and tourism meeting. “Our next step should be surveying the property.”