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Mayors look ahead to new year

Two of the biggest challenges Unicoi County officials from each municipality agree to have to overcome in 2013 are funding the increased full-time school resource officers and addressing issues at the 911 and Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department offices.
The most immediate priority for 2013, Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch said, is to help the county dispatch and Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department solve leakage issues.
“We need to bring the 911 and sheriff department facility up to standard,” Greg said. “But, of course, that’s not our project.”
He also said with renovations needed in the UCSD office, dispatch office and jail, this will make the third time the inmates have been moved.
“Also we may need to, if they redo the jail, end up having to move the inmates again for the third time,” he added.
Greg said the county will help both departments consider their options.
“We’ve got to keep the inmates in a secure and dry place and it could be that we would rent, buy or build a building,” he also said.
Although a decision has not been made yet, the cost would not be paid through property taxes, Greg said.
“That cost wouldn’t be borne by taxpayers through property tax, it would be through use of the court systems and there is a fee that’s tagged on to certain services in the courthouse,” he said. “We may have to do something, but it will not impact property tax whatever we do.”
Town of Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley said she also sees the 911 and Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department issue as an obstacle not only the town, but the whole county will face this year.
“It’s not just a town problem, it’s a county-wide problem,” Hensley said. “It will affect Erwin quite a bit with our dispatching. We’re going to have to come up with the funding and also a location.”
Obstacles such as the 911, Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department issue affects all municipalities in Unicoi County, however officials from each have projections on what 2013 will entail for them individually.
Manufacturing is an industry Greg said the county should look into for future growth.

For the remainder of this article please see the Jan 15, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.