March 2016 update

It’s March and warmer weather can’t be too far away! The first day of Spring is the 20th!

On Monday, March 28th at 1pm the Knox County Pension and Retirement Board will meet on the 6th floor of the City County Building in the Commission Conference Room. I am on that board and will be present.
 

That same day the Knox County Commission will meet beginning at 4pm with the Beer Board, regular Commission at 5pm followed by Zoning at 7pm. The regular monthly Work Session will take place on Monday, March 21st at 5pm. Both meetings will take place in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building.

During our meeting the Mayor will present a Proclamation proclaiming April as Fair Housing Month in Knox County.

Among other items of interest being considered this month:

  1. The Knox County Sheriff’s Department has a resolution for approval of a grant contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services for Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Services beginning July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 for $340,037.28. This will require a local match of $115,612.28. 
  2. Approving a construction contract with Twin K Construction in the amount of $2,240,986.55 for transportation improvements associated with the new Hardin Valley Middle School. There is also a construction contract with APAC – Atlantic for the same thing at the new Gibbs Middle School. That amount isn’t known at this time, but will be available at the Work Session. These two companies won the bidding process to do this work.
  3. A resolution for the much-needed improvement of the intersection of Gleason Roadand Ebenezer. If you have travelled that road it is very steep and a sharp turn to go toward Kingston Pike. Black won the bid to make this intersection safer. They also were the winning bid to improve Canton Hollow Road at Woody Road. Canton Hollow was identified in the Strategic Transportation Plan as the #1 location with safety issues and in need of improvement.  We are making safety improvements at the intersection of Canton Hollow and Woody Road as a first step in improving the area.
  4. There is a resolution to approve TDOT project to work on county roads for safety improvements to Alcoa Highway. The resolution allows them to do that. I think we all agree that the safety of drivers on Alcoa Highway has been overlooked for too long.
  5. A resolution to allow Parks & Recreation to apply for a grant in the amount of $500,000 for development of the new 70 acre park adjacent to the I.C. King Park. The purchase price of the land will be used as the match to get the additional $500K. This new park is larger than I.C. King is. I hope we name this new park and absorb the old I.C. King Park into the new one. Since we are closing the Alcoa Highway entrances and the dock, we should drop the old I.C. King name and the negative image the park has had in the past with illegal behavior. If we want to continue to use the I.C. King name we could possibly name a trail the I.C. King trail.
  6. A TIF for a project in the Jackson/Depot redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan.

I think that the specific project being proposed for this TIF is for a project at corner of Magnolia Avenue and Ogden Street. I believe that the original project has grown in scope, and it is determined that TIF assistance is needed to help finance the project rather than just PILOT lease assistance. I think once a piece of land has been either off the tax role for a long period of time or of no consequence, we are better off lending a hand to gain a broader tax base in the future.

  1. Approval of a contract between Knox County and the state of Tennessee, the Department of Military, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for Homeland Security Grant Funds of $377,877 for first responder equipment and training within the 16 counties that make up District 2 Homeland Security. There is no requirement for local matching funds.
  2. Commissioner McKenzie has presented a resolution asking the state to reconsider the elimination of funding for the UT Department of Diversity. I personally have no desire to vote on any items that we have no jurisdiction over. If I want my state legislators to know how I want them to vote, I will call them. Having Commission vote on a topic it has no say over only serves to divide the body.
  3. A RFP for a new Safety Center. I think this may be a little premature to vote on. I would like to see the Governor’s budget first. We need to see what the State’s commitment is going to be before we start the process.

As for discussion items, Commission will continue the discussion of Knox County’s Wrecker Service rates.

There will also be a presentation by the Legacy Parks Foundation.

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The Ed and Bob Night Out in Knox County this month will be in Fountain City. It is scheduled for March 22nd from 5p-7p at Sam & Andy’s at 2613 West Adair Dr just off of North Broadway. At-Large Commissioner Ed Brantley and I will be there to meet the people of north Knox County and listen to their concerns. We feel that going out TO the people eases the strain on those who, because of work, commitments, financial situation or the distance to the City-County Building, cannot attend regular commission meetings. All elected officials, media and public are welcome to attend. This is not a commission meeting. There is no agenda. There will be no votes taken. And while you’re there join us for one of Sam & Andy’s Famous hamburgers they have been making since 1946! www.SamandAndysRestaurant.com

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Congratulations to the winners in the Knox County Primary Election. Here are important dates for the upcoming General Election:

May 6, 2016

First Day to request an absentee ballot

July 5, 2016

Final day to register to vote before election

July 15, 2016

First day of Early Voting period

July 28, 2016

Final day to request an absentee ballot

July 30, 2016

Final day of Early Voting period

August 4, 2016

Election Day

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I will be participating in 5 Points Clean Up this Saturday morning in the Five Points Area from 9am to noon. Come out and lend a helping hand to the clean up. Bring a friend and meet at 9am in the parking lot of the Harvest Center Plaza, 2410 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Gloves, bags, tools, and safety equipment will be provided.

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Good Friday is March 25th. Knox County offices will be closed.

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The Vietnam Veterans will be having a “Welcome Home” event on the Worlds Fair site on Saturday, March 26th beginning at 1pm. Come out and honor these brave Americans!

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The Knox County Retirees luncheon will be April 5th, 11:30a at Rothchilds on Kingston Pike.
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Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday, March 13th! Move those clocks forward one hour!

Should you or any Knox County resident need assistance from Knox County government, please contact me at:
Bob.Thomas@KnoxCounty.org or 865-309-4364
Vice Chairman, Knox County Commission
Chairman, Knox County Disability Committee
Knox County Development Corp Board
Knox County Pension & Retirement Committee
Knox County Parks & Recreation Board
Dogwood Arts Festival Board
Young-Williams Animal Center Board
American Cancer Society Board
Arts & Culture Alliance Board