Commission meeting Monday

  By Lesley Hughes
star staff

  After several attempts to approve the 2004-2005 budget and to set a property tax rate, the Carter County Commission will reconvene on August 16 from a meeting that was drilled to pieces on August 2.
  Twenty-four commissioners were present at the meeting that ended abruptly following a hostage drill that sent county commissioners and other officials scrambling into a judge's chambers. Emergency Management Director Earnest Jackson attempted to notify audience members and armed officials of a drill that was to take place, but failed to provide details to anyone.
  Many commissioners were so upset after learning that the four armed suspects that took two deputies hostage and claimed a bomb was in the building that staying to vote on a property tax rate increase was not an option.
  County Mayor Dale Fair cancelled the meeting and suspended Jackson with pay on the following day until the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation completed a thorough investigation.
  After suspending Jackson, the mayor said, "I think it is best for him to step away. He is suspended with pay until TBI looks at the legality (of the drill)."
  During Monday night's meeting, commissioners will discuss the proposed property tax rate of $2.52 and setting a $25 wheel tax.
  The budget committee was prepared to submit a property tax rate of $2.66 per $100 of assessed value at the July commission meeting, but decided to reconsider the $0.44 tax increase.
  The meeting will be held in the Main Courtroom of the Carter County Courthouse at 7 p.m.