The county commission will be looking to appoint judicial commissioners next month.
During Monday night's meeting, the commission authorized the judicial committee to accept and review applications and then make a recommendation to the entire county commission in July. That committee is made up of the General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, and a representative of the District Attorney General's Office.
County Mayor Tim Stribling informed the county commission that an advertisement will be published seeking applicants for the three judicial commissioner positions through noon July 10. The positions are currently held by Jerry Taylor, Hoyte Barrett, and Taft Hendrixson and their pay is $884 per month.
Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause. They are subject to call at all hours of the day and night. Judicial commissioners serve at the pleasure of the county commission and their terms of office can be one year to four years.
Meanwhile, the county commission is in search of a new office for judicial commissioners to write warrants for the public. Sheriff Patrick Ray has given notice to the county mayor that he will no longer provide office space or supplies and equipment for the judicial commissioners as of June 30. After talking with him, County Mayor Stribling said Sheriff Ray has agreed to extend the deadline by one month to give the county more time to find a place.
While the county is considering other location options, Fifth district commissioner Anita Puckett made a motion that a letter be sent to the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen asking for them to provide space at city hall for use by judicial commissioners including the supplies and copier they need. The reason for making the request of the city is because the county funds all salaries of judicial commissioners who write warrants for the public and all law enforcement agencies including the Smithville Police Department. The motion was approved on an 11-0-1 vote. Seventh district member Kevin Robinson, who is employed by the city, passed.
In other business, the commission approved a request for a one year pilot program authorizing the library system to occupy a room at the county complex for a satellite location (Bookmobile) for library outreach, using books and other resources from the Liberty Library which is closing on Friday, June 26 due to lack of activity there. "We are partnering with Motlow for computer classes. We're partnering with UT. We're doing art classes over there. We also want to use this space to get our bookmobile started back up again and do more outreach. We're close to the schools. We're close to the senior centers. We're close to preschools that we can outreach to them with the bookmobile. We can also use that as a satellite center to do our technology. We want to teach people how to use their eReaders, Nooks, etc to download READS programs from the state. We're wanting to do more technology and that room (county complex) would give us that opportunity. We really don't have the space in our library to do that right now," said Library Director Kathy Hendrixson.
The commissioners approved the reappointment of Brenda Hooper and Annette Greek to the DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees for new three year terms.
County Mayor Stribling announced that he was appointing Leslie B. Enoch, II as a commissioner to the Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District.
The commission adopted a continuation budget and tax rate resolution to keep county government operating until a new budget and property tax rate are approved later this summer.
A travel policy was approved for the county highway department which will be the same as used by the state and county. No such policy has ever been established for the highway department and state auditors recommended that it be done.
The commission approved a five year use agreement to allow Motlow State Community College to continue using two rooms rent free at the county complex for a classroom and computer lab.
A one year lease renewal was also approved for the Tennessee Opportunity Programs which operates out of one room at the county complex for $200 per month. The program seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farm workers and other disadvantaged persons to achieve economic self sufficiency by providing services that address their individual needs.
A county fire department 2000 Ford Expedition with 177,000 miles was declared surplus property and will be disposed of through Gov Deals.
Meanwhile, Circuit Court Judge Amy Hollars, as presiding judge of the 13th Judicial District, has sent an open letter to the county mayor and county commission asking them to approve a plan to enhance security at the courthouse. County Mayor Stribling said Sheriff Patrick Ray has been working on some suggestions and a committee may review the concerns and make a recommendation to the entire commission.
Developing a policy and criteria in posting speed limits on county roads is something fourth district commissioner Wayne Cantrell believes the commission should establish. The county often receives requests from the public to post speed limits in their neighborhoods. Cantrell is asking that the issue be discussed more indepth next month. "We're going to have every road in the county posted if we're not careful. I think we need to have some folks go out and look at these (roads) and make sure that they should be posted and make sure that Joe is not mad at his neighbor Jim because he feels like he is speeding down the road or something. We need to have some kind of criteria to post these roads if they even need posting. It's getting pretty expensive too (to post road signs)," said Cantrell.