County meetings on agenda

By Lesley Hughes
star staff
lhughes@starhq.com

  Several much anticipated meetings will be called to order next week. The Carter County Budget Committee will meet on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. for what some hope to be the final meeting to recommend an acceptable property tax rate to the County Commission.
  The Budget Committee presented a property tax rate of $2.52 per $100 of assessed value during a called meeting of the County Commission on Aug. 16. An amendment added $.05 for 3 percent raises for county employees. The amended motion failed by a vote of 11-13.
  Commissioners Lawrence Hodge, Amos Stevens, Al Meehan, Joe Woods, Jim Whaley, Phil Nave, Jo Ann Blankenship, Charlie Bayless, Dickie Renfro, Jeff Treadway, and Robert Davis voted for the 35 cent increase. The 13 commissioners that voted against the tax rate were Doug Buckles, Jack Buckles, Wayne Holtsclaw, Jerry Pearman, L.C. Tester, Tom Bowers, Terry Montgomery, John Lewis, John D. Snyder, Lynn Tipton, Richard Tester, Bill Armstrong, and Roy Merryman.
  A budget workshop, held Aug. 23, let commissioners and the public express opinions and suggestions regarding a tax rate. Commissioner Richard Tester expressed thoughts that some commissioners would have approved the $2.52 rate, but thought the extra five cents was unacceptable.
  Tuesday's meeting will give committee members another chance to modify the tax rate with the hope that the County Commission will approve it at its Sept. 13 regularly scheduled meeting.
  Another meeting of interest will take place on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. The Investigations Committee has called a meeting to look into the procedure used by the Carter County Rescue Squad to transport a corpse on Aug. 3. The squad decided not to transport the body of Paul "Buc" Guinn. Authorities speculated he had been dead for approximately four days when he was discovered by his nephew.
  Deputy Director David Nichols made the decision to haul the body in the back of a truck to prevent contamination to a squad vehicle. The smell of a corpse is difficult to remove and can cost thousands of dollars. Washington County Emergency Rescue Service had a truck contaminated and can no longer use the truck to haul sick and injured patients. Johnson County EMS also had a truck contaminated. Close to 20 weeks and $13,000 was spent trying to decontaminate the squad, but efforts were unsuccessful.
  Commissioner John D. Snyder expressed concern, making a motion for the Investigations Committee to look into the situation and to develop another plan for future cases.
  The Jail Task Force will also be meeting on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. The Parks and Recreation Committee canceled their 6 p.m. meeting scheduled for Aug. 31.