It was business as usual for the Blount County Board of Commissioners during a quick agenda workshop on Tuesday evening.
With 15 commissioners present, the board voted to send every resolution and appointment to the full commission, with only one dissenting vote cast during the entire meeting.
Commissioner Mike Akard voted against a resolution that proposes a $31,500 budget increase “to appropriate assigned funds for the clearing, demolition, and removal of property structures at the Transition Facility site.”
Every other resolution was passed through to the full commission in 15-0 votes, with little discussion. The entire meeting took less than half an hour.
It’s a stark change of pace following more than a month of contentious meetings filled with high-stakes resolutions regarding massive subdivisions, zoning regulations, and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
While those meetings were filled with disgruntled Blount County residents voicing their opposition to new housing developments, the public comment portion of Tuesday’s workshop was empty.
Despite not drawing a sizable crowd like recent meetings, several items pushed through during Tuesday’s session will impact important aspects of the community.
Commissioners voted 15-0 to forward to the full commission a resolution for a budget increase of more than $350,000 to “extend MACnet fiber network to Walland Elementary, Townsend Elementary, and Prospect Elementary,” something Akard said he had received emails about leading up to the meeting.
“I believe the public is assuming that this has to do with 5G cellular network, rather than Fiber going to the school and providing WiFi there,” Akard clarified.
“This has nothing to do with cellphones, this has to do with supplying internet to three schools that does not have access right now,” County Commissioner Tom Stinnett added.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to send to the full commission, a resolution proposing a budget increase of nearly $78,000 “to appropriate funds for Facilities Condition Assessment Services and Capital Planning Software for County Buildings.”
Capital planning software is a program that “automates and streamlines critical Capex processes, and enables finance leaders to assess and consistently compare each project’s strategic value,” according to capital planning management firm Finario.
Officials say the software is something that can help the county take care of its roads and infrastructure, an issue brought up by residents last month.
“This is our part of looking at our buildings and making sure we know what needs to be done in the future,” Stinnett said.
Commissioners also voted to push through a resolution regarding “Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding” for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Mayor Ed Mitchell’s appointments for the Blount County Human Resource Committee.
All of the resolutions will be on the agenda at the monthly county commission meeting set for Thursday, Oct. 21