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Property Committee Meeting Minutes – April 23, 2024 (Unapproved)

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23 APRIL 2024

Chair Tracy Wilburn opened the meeting asking Commissioner Matt Rubelsky to offer a prayer and lead the pledge.  The minutes of 5 December 2023 were moved for approval by Commissioner Gayle Jones, seconded by Commissioner Joyce Woodard, and were approved unanimously.  The Chair then asked County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe if he had any announcements.  The CE discussed meeting with three professional engineering firms who had responded to the RFP for construction manager services.  He mentioned the selection was qualification based, not fee-based, and that Reeves & Young had been selected by the Project Management Team to serve as the Courthouse Construction Manager.

Next Agenda Item – E911 Dispatch & Ambulance collocation.  The CE addressed the reasoning behind this recommendation.  That is, the E911 building which is considered a critical structure needs more space and for the past several months the E911 board had been looking at options with our A/E firm, OHM.  The Tier-4 code requirement is for critical emergency infrastructure, requiring a “hardened” building to withstand severe weather.  One option that was considered was expand existing building and meet Tier 4 code standards.  Option 2: Add to the OEM building, but the existing building would have to be hardened as well; and Option 3, build a new Tier 4 building behind OEM, which per the OHM and the E911 Board is feasible. The E911 Board had met and agreed on an Option 4 – to collocate E911 as an element of the new Ambulance Building, thus requiring only one hardened building which would be most efficient. The costs for meeting the Tier 4 standards were estimated by OHM at $700 per.  Total costs and estimates for a separate E911 are $3.25M, separate for Ambulance building $7M, and combining those two are estimated at $9.6M ($650K saving).  Value Engineering would be ongoing which would allow the county to work on bringing costs down. The CE stated that before signing the design contract with OHM he needs commission agreement.  Commissioner Gayle Jones asked if the cost included the site development with the CE answering yes.  Commissioner Evan Baddour asked if the E911 organization had approved with the CE saying the E911 Board recommendation was collocation.  At this time a member of the public, David Rackley was given time to speak.  He mentioned his experience with E911 formulation, serving on the Pulaski city council when formed and that he is now on the building committee.  Due to illness, E911 Director Gwen Gracy was not in attendance, and Mr. Rackley questioned whether there had been an E911 recommendation, and if the state had provided any written information. Bill Myers, Director EMS, in answering the comments noted there had been a motion and vote on collocation, and for the state providing information, that good examples already existed where the services were collocated; that only an inter-local agreement would be required to codify local government partnerships.  Commissioner Evan Baddour, and seconded by Commissioner Caleb Savage, moved to approve one consolidated building, E911 collocated with the ambulance service.  Commissioner David Wamble asked would the E911 need help to cover this project.  The CE mentioned that the E911 Board currently has $2.1M in available reserves.  Mr. Myers discussed the annual contributions now from the County and Pulaski ($120K each) and smaller communities a lesser amount.  He further stated this amount has not increased in several years, yet the call volume is going up and more staff will likely be required.  He also said the $2.1M is the worst-case scenario in terms of available reserves for E911.  Commissioner Terry Jones said, as a reminder, that after EMS is located at the Ag Park, that he would want to consider moving the Elkton ambulance location to Minor Hill since the Ag Park location is closer to Elkton.  Commissioner Shelly Goolsby asked what are the plans to recoup or reuse the existing Ambulance and E911 properties, with the CE stating there is no established plan at this time, although there was discussion about using the ambulance building as a county morgue, and the E911 facility might be used for increasing the county’s archive storage.  Commissioner Goolsby asked for clarification on a request for more annual funding when there is already a $2.1M available and what was the source of those funds.  Mr. Myers discussed the sources (some cell phone charges redistributed by state, but for answering the E911 calls only) and from county/city/towns (for dispatching service).  Further the state sends some of the funding for new building requirements, and all the dollars are restricted in how and for what they may be spent.  Commissioner Annelle Guthrie asked if there were any plans to consolidate Ambulance and E911 within Emergency Services, and Mr. Myers answered there are no plans at this time.  At this time Commissioner Evan Baddour, seconded by Commissioner Caleb Savage, amended/clarified his previous motion to include “pursue the design.”  Questions then arose on would this be a commitment and would there be another meeting to look at more current cost.  Commissioner Gayle Jones also asked who would own the buildings with the CE stating similar to now with the county owning the E911 and the ambulance building.  Commissioner Gayle Jones asked for a written state agreement for the collocation with Mr. Myers replying he did not think the state would need to “bless” the individual local agreement, since there were already several across the state doing the same.  Commissioner Gayle Jones stated she would like to see that in writing.  Commissioner Roger Reedy said a timeline would be needed, e.g. what information wanted and when and the cost can only go up with any significant delays.  Commissioner Wamble asked if the amount mentioned ($2.1M) included necessary fund balance reserves, with Bill Myers saying that the $2.1M is over and above reserves.  A final motion by Commissioner Evan Baddour, seconded by Commissioner Caleb Savage was made to pursue the design of a Tier 4 building collated with the ambulance.  The vote was taken and the motion was approved unanimously.

Next Agenda Item a $750K grant for EMA & Health Dept “Big Top” structure.  The grant of $750K, requiring no match funding, would cover dirt work, concrete, installation, and furnishings.  The building would be a fabric covered structure housing TN Department of Health (TDH) & Regional Health Coalition equipment and supplies for emergency readiness. The county would supply the lot and would get use of the building after primary use by TDH and Health.  A Memorandum of Agreement with TDH & EMA would be required with any insurance, maintenance, utilities, repairs, cleanup supplied by the county.  Any part of the building construction, e.g., land development required would have to be covered within the $750K.  Per the CE the pros would be local mobilization of emergency equipment – improvement to readiness – along with extra storage and post disaster shelter possibilities; with cons the building is not considered long-term or permanent, possibly last 30 years, and the recurring operational costs would belong to the county. The CE said today’s decision need only be whether the county has an interest, or not – a notional response for TDH to pursue more detailed construction estimates.  Commissioner Shelly Goolsby asked about specific locations, with the county owned lot near the airport/Flatrock Cheese company, noting by the CE that there is already a pad there (although land doesn’t perk).  Commissioner Gayle Jones said any property is valuable, and discussed potential long-term needs for the convenience center.  Josh Young noted the size of the building would be whichever lot would be chosen, the net cost and the size then in keeping within the $750K.  The Chair commented on the previous discussion of needing a hardened Tier 4 structure and for storing equipment supplies for disaster in a fabric building.  Commissioner Terry Jones commented on whether the county would get enough use to offset the recurring costs.  Commissioner David Adams asked about another cost to county that being if something happened would the county have to replace the structure and Commissioner Joseph Sutton asked how many would be required to take care of the structure and who pays; the CE reiterated the county would be responsible for recurring maintenance.  Commissioner Caleb Savage asked who would be in charge of distribution, given a disaster, with the CE stating TDH and the Healthcare Coalition would be.  Cost of insurance on such a structure was also mentioned with some concern that it would be expensive.  Commissioner James Lathrop noted this building is not like a “pup tent”, and that he knew of others being used as hangars that had a long service life.  Commissioner Evan Baddour asked about utilities and would they need water or just electricity.  The CE said they would need electrical and probably water, but sewer wouldn’t be available at the Airport site. Commissioner Matt Rubelsky asked about other uses of the lot, is there another long-term use and how could we use it.  In other words, is it a wise investment.  Commissioner Joyce Woodard asked about temperature control with the CE saying there would be utility costs but design parameters are not yet determined.  Josh Young talked of items his organization could store, e.g., trailers and also noted it could be placed behind their building but would be a much smaller lot.  Timeline for the building to be turned over to the county would be Jun 2026.  Josh Young mentioned the facility would serve the region, there are 8 counties altogether from Hickman to Coffee.  Commissioner Brad Butler noted there is no other possible use for the Airport property and this would be a good use for it.  As for the potential for convenience center moving, Commissioner Erin Curry noted that since the state originally funded, the county would have to pay to move and rebuild.  It was also mentioned that the land is co-owned by Pulaski, and the CE said he had not yet discussed the possibility with the Pulaski Mayor.  Commissioner Gayle Jones mentioned she had talked to an insurance company and asked if building in a flight path made home insurance more expensive, and the insurance company’s answer was no.  Commissioner Reedy suggested this structure is used more in the Midwest, so probably not a lot of use in Giles and surrounding counties.  However, he asked do we want to be a team player – and this is a central location for all.  Commissioner Terry Jones suggested the convenience center director Julie Phillips be invited to discuss one more time moving the convenience center, even if funding and the state allows.  Commissioner Evan Baddour asked if the county would be bound for a certain number of years with the CE stating an MOU has no time limit and is not legally binding, but if there was a future need to revisit the MOU it could be renegotiated. Commissioner Joseph Sutton asked if we want the facility how soon do we need to let them know.  The CE said in speaking to them earlier, TDH wanted to know the county’s position as soon as possible. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked who is the manufacturer, with the CE saying Big Top.  Commissioner Evan Baddour moved to give notional approval for three sites, airport, behind OHM, and county-owned property near Lewter’s and with Caleb Savage providing the second the motion was approved unanimously.  The CE said the TDH and Health Coalition could proceed with the cost estimate for the three. 

Next Agenda Item – Unfinished Business.  Commissioners Gayle Jones and Joyce Woodard brought forth a water leak around the Archives doors.  The CE said he was told the problem had been resolved, and both commissioners mentioned previous work done that had helped greatly but the doors needed to be sealed tight.  The CE suggested an immediate phone call would be more helpful than waiting several weeks to inform him of a maintenance need.  Commissioner Evan Baddour asked if there were any courthouse security updates with the CE saying the courthouse security committee had met and that minutes would be available to the commission as a May report.

Next Agenda Item – New Business.  There being none Commissioner Caleb Savage moved for adjournment and with Commissioner Gayle Jones providing the second the meeting was adjourned.

ATTENDEES Members of the Committee – Chair Commissioner Tracy Wilburn, other Commissioners Joyce Woodard, Shelly Goolsby, Annelle Guthrie, Gayle Jones, Caleb Savage for Mathew Hopkins (absent), Evan Baddour   Other Commissioners in attendance – David Wamble, David Adams, Joseph Sutton, Matt Rubelsky, Terry Jones, James Lathrop, Judy Pruett, Tim Risner, Roger Reedy, Erin Curry, Brad Buttler   Other in attendance County Executive Graham Stowe, Director of Emergency Management Bill Myers, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Josh Young, EMS Chief of the Ambulance Service Willa Chavez,   Public – David Rackley and others.