Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Minutes: Regular Robertson County Commission Meeting – 2010.12.20

My re-cap (and commentary) from the Regular Meeting from Monday, December 20, 2010.

"My" Agenda –
Earlier this past week I shared with you the agenda, our Commissioners Packet. Immediately below were the matters I had my eye on for the meeting.

I was particularly interested to see the direction the RCC would take with Mass Transit project / Relax-and-Ride Program. In discussions with Commissioners before the vote, it appeared that there would be some moderate, if not significant opposition to the vote based upon the sectarian nature that still permeates the mindsets of many leaders throughout the County.

I was enthused to see to the results for, and the approval of the logo for the Robertson County-Springfield Learning Center.

I was pleased with the direction taken on the issue of the proposed part-time Maintenance Department employee. Though, I was that much more pleased by the arguments and discussion had during the consideration of this resolution.

Senator Ferrell Haille –
Senator Ferrell Haille introduced himself to Robertson County, and the RCC. He was gracious for the opportunity to serve through March, and pledged his commitment to fulfill the same standard set by Senator Black. He will retain her office number in Nashville throughout his term, and will be happy to field inquiries from Robertson County.

Election(s) Funding –
On that note, the RCC took up a resolution for funding the special elections both for the primary as well as the general election for this very seat. Interestingly enough, the elections will cost Robertson County approximately $70,000.00. Though, the State of Tennessee will be reimbursing the County for ALL these expenditures since it is a special election.


Planning Commission –
Alright, if you perused the December Commission Packet, you may have even trudged through the resolutions proffered by the Planning Commission.
These resolutions passed.

The one I would like to center in on for discussion was the "small animal boarding resolution."
From what I have learned, it is my understanding that this was derivative of an issue that first arose a few years back over a project for an animal shelter. It is further my understanding that this was a very heated topic in its day, and this was confirmed by a fellow commissioner who pointed out that several of her constituents were present at the meeting in order to see firsthand the direction of the discussion, and the vote. Obviously, this was an issue of special interest.

With that said, the specifics of what we were considering had to do with an effort to prevent this from being a reality faced by citizens of the County should a neighbor decide to erect such a structure or if some third-party entity decide to relocate. What I mean by this is that the regulations would now thwart the ability of a property owner to move forward with such a project without first complying with the specifics set forth by this resolution. Owners of residential and agricultural zones are now limited in their ability to construct such "small animal boarding shelters" on their property. As it stood before Monday's meeting, owners virtually had unfettered ability to just that.
Now, this resolution would do much to thwart such an effort from occurring, and assures fellow property owners and neighbors any neighboring property owners that this would not be allowed.

Part-Time Employee in Maintenance Department -
The creation of this part-time position was sought in last year's budget. It was turned down by the previous Commission.

This position was requested shortly after the new Commission was sworn-in.

After being withdrawn last month, it was back on the agenda.

Monday, it was voted down.

I was pleased that it was voted down. And, I will quickly state that this should by no means be construed as disparaging anyone in the Maintenance Department, Joe Fort or any one person having to do with the Maintenance Department.

For me, it comes down to what means we have as a County, and adding employees is not how I would prefer to begin such a discussion. Commissioner Gregory articulated this point well in her argument (which I will paraphrase) in which she set out that hiring is not appropriate when the County cannot even adequately consider raises for County employees.

As we move into a crucial time for considering our finances, I am very encouraged that the Commission is considering matters in this way. Fiscal Responsibility was and is the most prevalent issue on the minds of the citizens of Robertson County. Going into the January 13, 2011 meeting in which we will consider the direction of our budget, this is the type of analysis that the citizens asked for back in August.

Logo –
If you had a chance to look through the December Commission packet, I am sure that you have come across the logo for the Highland Crest College

All voted YEA for the logo, and I personally like it.

Some folks that were in on the decision making process that narrowed the search down to a few for our consideration expressed that they had other logos that they preferred, but I have not heard a one say that they just do not flat out like it, they just prefer other designs.

Regardless, many, many thanks to Tom Trapp for the hours and scores of designs put forth for consideration.

Relax-and-Ride / Mass Transit –
I have probably discussed this to a greater extent over the past few weeks, so I want take up too much of your time regarding he merits.

My thoughts are fairly well-developed on this issue.

I will say that this, though, and it speaks on a higher level than just this project. In the discussions with other commissioners on this issue, it became a concern with me that this issue may end up falling on the wayside due to sectionalism of the County leadership. Meaning, that many of the Commissioners I spoke with were looking at it that "this project does not come through my district" or "why aren't the routes rolling through our area?" I am not going to be a half-full-glass on this, since the vote overwhelmingly came through for this project, but the mindset of sectionalism is still an ever-present concern.

Overall, I thought this was a very productive way to end the year. There were several other issues discussed, and if I have not covered those, and you have questions, concerns or comments on those then please let me know.