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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Carter courtrooms set to get security upgrade after vote

March 11th, 2014 9:01 am by John Thompson

Carter courtrooms set to get security upgrade after vote

ELIZABETHTON — The courts in Carter County could soon be getting a $6,000 security upgrade from non-tax revenues.

On Monday evening, the Budget Committee of the Carter County Commission approved a recommendation from the Courtroom Security Committee. The upgrade includes new equipment and installation. The committee agreed to a ceiling of $6,798.86 on equipment bids and installation, to be paid from Courtroom Security revenue already in the budget.

Mayor Leon Humphrey said a good used pickup truck has been located that could replace a worn-out vehicle at the animal shelter. He said it is a U.S. Forest Service vehicle and will be a good buy for the asking price of $6,000.

The committee also voted 7-1 for proposed window replacements at Keenburg and Valley Forge elementary schools and the Cloudland High School gymnasium. Lawrence Hodge cast the only dissenting vote. Funds for the project would come from the county’s half-cent sales tax dedicated to school capital projects.

Bids have not been opened, but the estimated costs were $230,000 for Keenburg; $280,000 for Valley Forge; and $65,000 for Cloudland.

In other matters, Commissioner John Lewis asked how much additional revenue would be freed up as a result of the final payoff of bonds issued in building a new Cloudland Elementary School.

Finance Director Ingrid Deloach said there would be no additional money coming in because the county’s debt service has been operating at a deficit for the past few years, drawing on reserves and fund balances to balance the budget. Even when there are no more payments on the school bonds, there would still be a deficit to make up, she said.

Commissioner Nancy Brown said a constituent in her district wanted to bid on the mowing contracts for the county schools, but has not been able to do so. Deloach said the school system was attempting to go a second year on the contracts from last mowing season because fuel costs keep going up. She said the school system is going to re-examine the wording in the contracts to see if that was permissible. If it is not, she said the contracts would be rebid and the constituent would be allowed to bid.

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