Carter County Budget Committee passes burial bill on to full commission

John Thompson • Mar 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Budget Committee of the Carter County Commission was unable to resolve a dispute over payment for a pauper burial that has been discussed for the past two months.

On Monday night, the committee voted 3-2, with one member voting pass, to pay the outstanding bill. Lawrence Hodge and Thomas “Yogi” Bowers voted against the measure. The committee then unanimously voted to forward the bill to the entire County Commission with no recommendation from the committee. The County Commission meets next Monday.

The debate over the bill has become a contentious one because of the number of bills for pauper burials the county has received this fiscal year. In normal years, the county has about two or three such burials. This year, the county has already had nine and has already transferred $2,000 from a little-used line item for industry recruitment to pay for the overages. The county pays $600 for each pauper burial.

Mayor Leon Humphrey argued for paying for the latest burial, saying the county was committed to the current policy and that the policy should be examined before changes are made in paying the bills.

Nancy Brown strongly supported the expenditure. “Everybody deserves a decent cremation or burial,” she said.

At the request of the Landfill Committee, the Budget Committee agreed to recommend the transfer of $5,048 from the line item for the annual county cleanup. The Landfill Committee plans to hold the cleanup in September this year, which is in the next fiscal year. The money will be used to help dispose of the tires and other items the sheriff’s litter patrols routinely bring to the landfill.

Chief Deputy Ron Street said the money is in the litter program, but his department never touches it because it is understood it is always used for the cleanup.

Landfill Committee Chairman Joel Street also asked that the Budget Committee consider placing $30,000 in the Solid Waste Fund next fiscal year to help pay for the annual cleanup.

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