Janet Higdon was selected during the Sept. 16 County Commission meeting to fill the fifth district seat vacated by the August resignation of Bill Kee.
With Commissioner Angie Hern absent, there were 16 present to vote. Angela Jones also put her name in for consideration, and both candidates spoke to the group prior to voting. When votes were tallied, there were six for Jones and 10 for Higdon, making Higdon the clear winner.
September marks the annual meeting set aside to select a new chairman and chairman pro-tem. Ward Plant, Rocky Presson, and Rosanne Ward all were nominated for the chairman role, but both Presson and Ward declined. With no opposition, Plant was re-elected unanimously to the chairman seat.
Darrell Hicks and Roseanne Ward were nominated as pro-tem, but the voting stalled with seven votes for Hicks, eight for Ward, and two pass votes from the candidates. With one commissioner absent, the group voted to wait until next month to select the pro-tem, in the hope of one candidate obtaining the needed 10 votes.
Once elections were concluded, monthly reports and notary candidates were approved, along with several resolutions. A resolution to budget $19,869.29 to the sheriff’s office was withdrawn as it was unclear where a portion of these funds should be allocated. The sheriff’s office and budget committee will collaborate on this matter to determine the appropriate way to proceed.
Approved resolutions included:
• Appointed Darrell Hicks and Alice Douglas to the Parks and Recreation Board for 3-year terms, and Mike Stockdale to the E-911 Board for a 4-year term.
• Approved the Benton County Broadband Ready Communities Policy pursuant to TN Public Chapter 228:4-3-709.
• Approved the Benton County Recycling Plan for all county offices immediately to begin separating paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and printer/toner cartridges for recycling. This effort will be supported in part by funds from the TDOT Litter Grant.
• Budgeted $887.02 to the Animal Shelter and $2,800 to county buildings maintenance.
• Within the schools’ budget, budgeted $36,000 from a state education grant, $140,000 from a school resource officer grant, $52,317.20 from a “Transition: School to Work” grant, $26,450 from insurance recovery, and $1,956,827 from the Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI). The $1.9 million is allocated by EESI to cover expenses related to updating/upgrading the lighting and HVAC systems in all county schools.
• Amended the 2018-22 Benton County Rules of Order for County Commission meetings to include an additional scheduled forum during monthly commission meetings for the county mayor, attorney, financial advisor, or an invited guest to speak.
• Appropriated $6,280.12 from the Chancery Court Data Processing Reserve to update computers/software in the office of the Benton County Clerk and Master.
• Appropriated $7,500 from the General Sessions Court Data Processing Reserve to update computers/software for both the General Sessions and Circuit Courts.
• For anyone unable to attend a County Commission meeting, an audio recording can be obtained at no charge from the County Clerk’s Office via transfer to a USB storage device.
Also, county commission meetings may be viewed live on the Benton County Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BentonCoTN.