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County Commission discusses flooding issues

By Richard Rourk

The Unicoi County Commission held its latest monthly meeting on Monday, April 27, through Zoom to discuss the recent damages to the county by flooding.

Unicoi County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely announced that his office met with several agencies to seek help for the recent round of flooding that hit Unicoi County.

“We met last week with all of the agencies except for FEMA,” Evely said. “I spoke with Greg Quillen from the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and there may be a study that can be done on the creeks. NRCS will pay 100 percent for that study and will pay to make corrections to the waterways.”

According to Evely, TEMA will not be providing citizens that have had houses that were damaged during the floods with individual assistance.

“The houses have to be deemed uninhabitable to receive individual assistance with TEMA,” Evely said.

Moving on, the commission voted unanimously to allow Evely to apply for the HOME Program grant from Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) to provide housing upgrades to low income families in Unicoi County following a motion to approve by Commissioner Matthew Rice and a second from Vice Chairman Jamie Harris.

According to Commission Chairman Loren Thomas, the HOME Grant could provide $250,000 dollars for upgrades to low income homes in the area that are in need of repair.

Next up, the commission voted unanimously to allow Evely to seek a $44,200 grant from TDOT to support a program to collect litter and trash throughout Unicoi County following a motion by Commissioner John Mosley and a second by Vice Chairman Harris.

Also on Monday, members of the Equalization Board were announced.

“The candidates to be named to a two-year term on the Equalization Board are Tommy Bennett, Ken Kisiel, Jim Long, Rick Millenbach and Richard Preston and there is no vote required,” Thomas said.

County boards of equalization are authorized by law to receive and hear appeals of current year property tax assessments as fixed by the county assessor of property.

Todd Love was officially announced to serve on the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board for a three-year term during the meeting. The commission unanimously voted to approve Love following a motion to approve by Commissioner Jason Harris and a second by Commissioner Glenn White.

In closing, Evely announced to the commission that Unicoi County will join Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s three phase plan to open the state and county back up.

“I do not anticipate extending the stay at home order any further,” Evely said. “We will just move on with caution. Our stay at home order will expire on Wednesday, but we will still have one opening to the courthouse for the foreseeable future.”