The Blount County Commission will gather Thursday for its monthly meeting, with discussions expected to center on several budget reappropriations and health care for county employees.

Health care

The county is expected to vote on adopting medical plan design options and a medical premium rate structure. These would go into effect on Jan. 1.

The proposed plan would cost Blount County employees a minimum rate of $579 annually, with the employee paying 15% and the employer paying 85%.

Discussion is expected to ensue by school employees.

Commissioner Dodd Crowe, who doubles as an educator, raised his concerns about the proposed plans. Crowe believes that the adopted resolutions could be hard on educators.

“And if the schools leave, it’s going to hurt the rest of the county,” he said.

Reappropriations

At the end of every fiscal year, leftover money needs to be reappropriated, said Randy Vineyard, director of accounts and budgets for the county.

The highway department is asking for unused grant money to be reappropriated, amounting to more than $160,000. In addition to the reappropriated funds, the department is asking for a budget increase of more than $90,551.

Both of these fund enhancements are intended to be used on the Greenway Walking Trail near Heritage Middle School.

The recycling department is requesting that nearly $30,000 be reappropriated to supply more oil storage capacity at the Blount County Recycling Center.

The Blount County Emergency Medical Services Board has requested that unused funds originally allocated for AMR, the current ambulance system in use by the county, be reappropriated.

The board has suggested that this money, which totals more than $170,000, be distributed among emergency service agencies throughout the county.

Probation is asking for the remaining $13,000 in its budget be reappropriated to pay for more alcohol-monitoring devices. This money would pay for 13 more offenders to have access to these devices each month.

This request comes a month after the commission voted to participate in a state program to offer alcohol-monitoring devices to indigents.

Appointments

The commission also will vote on the appointment of Jesus Ortega to the county Library Board of Trustees for a three-year appointment. County Mayor Ed Mitchell formally recommended Ortega.

This comes on the heels of the recent appointment of Tom Stinnett to the board of trustees and many budget decreases and increases pertaining to the library in recent months.

In other news

The animal center is requesting a budget increase for more than $8,000 for an air purification system. The funds to pay for this system would come from donations to the animal center.

The circuit court clerk is asking for an increase of more than $40,000 for a juvenile case management system. A new state law mandates that juvenile courts must have a certain program for case management. These funds would pay for the installation and training costs of this program.

Records Managements made two requests. The first was a budget request of $500 to pay for a temporary part-time employee to assist in scanning historic minute books. The second request was to submit a grant application for $5,000 to hire this temporary employee.

A resolution to name the bridge on Blockhouse Road in Maryville the “Seaman, Second Class Elmer Howard Russell Memorial Bridge” also will be voted on.

Each of these resolutions will be discussed and voted upon in Thursday’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Blount County Courthouse in Room 430.

Shelby is finishing up her master’s degree at the University of Memphis. She joined The Daily Times in 2019 as a reporter covering county government.

Reporter

Shelby joined The Daily Times in 2019 as a reporter covering county government.

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